Area under rice cultivation goes up

July 13th, 2008 - 12:28 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) The area under rice cultivation in India has risen to 9.2 million hectares from 8.6 million hectares a year ago, official figures show. The latest data with the agriculture ministry shows an increase in the area under rice, maize, bajra, soybean, and jute cultivation, while there is a remarkable decline in the acreage for cotton and sugarcane.

Official figures pertaining to the July 11 cut-off showed maize, bajra, and soybean were being cultivated in 3.3 million hectares, 3.7 million hectares, and 5.39 million hectares respectively.

Cotton and sugarcane, however, are being sown 3.9 million hectares and 4.31 million hectares respectively compared to 6.33 million hectares and 5.28 million hectares in the previous year.

Releasing the fourth advance estimates of major crops production, Agriculture Secretary P.K. Mishra admitted a decline in the production of sugarcane to 340.56 million tonnes in 2007-08 against 355.52 million tonnes in the previous year.

The latest assessment, however, showed an absolute increase of 13.39 million tonnes in food production at 230.67 million tonnes in 2007-08 compared to 217.28 million tonnes in 2006-07.

Government officials have maintained that better crop yields would help in moderating prices of essential commodities, which have gone north in view of zooming inflation at 11.89 percent for the week ended June 28.

The agriculture ministry has estimated an increase by about three million tonnes in rice production to 96.43 million tonnes and that of wheat by 2.6 million tonnes to 78.40 million tonnes in 2007-08 over the previous year.

As per an official estimate, the demand for rice in India is projected at 128 million tonnes for 2012 and will require a production level of 3,000 kg per hectare against the present average yield of 1,930 kg per hectare.

The government has targeted production of 129 million tonnes of rice by 2011-12 with the growth rate of 3.7 percent along with other food grains.

According to an official estimate, India’s consumption of rice in 2006-07 was 88.25 million tonnes.

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