Area under rice cultivation up 28 percent this year

July 26th, 2008 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) With Indian farmers bringing 28 percent more area under rice cultivation in this kharif (summer) season compared to last season, higher foodgrain production is expected to mitigate inflationary pressures later this year, an agriculture ministry official has said. According to data compiled by the ministry of agriculture, India’s staple food crop, rice, is being cultivated in an area of over 17 million hectares as on July 25 against 14.3 million hectares in the corresponding period last year, the official said.

“Sowing of kharif food crops is progressing satisfactorily,” he said.

According to official estimates, the demand for rice in India is projected at 128 million tonnes for 2012 and will require a productivity level of 3,000 kilograms per hectare against the present average yield of only 1,930 kilograms per hectare.

The government has fixed a production target of 129 million tonnes of rice by 2011-12 with foodgrain growth rate expected to be maintained at 3.7 percent.

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

According to fourth advance estimates July 19, 2007, the rice production in 2007-08 was estimated to be over 92 million tonnes.

In April 2008, official estimates put total rice production in 2007-08 at 95.68 million tonnes. The official data has said agriculture comprising fishery and forestry grew at the rate of 4.5 percent in 2007-08 against 3.8 percent in 2006-07.

The agriculture ministry has also estimated that coarse cereals were being grown on around 10 million hectares of land as on July 26 against around 9.6 million hectares in the previous corresponding period.

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