Government expects higher summer crop

July 8th, 2008 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) India would have a higher summer (kharif) crop this season in view of the good rains and an increased area coming under cultivation, Agriculture Secretary P.K. Mishra said Tuesday. “Good rains, and higher government rates for staple yields like rice and wheat will boost overall production,” Mishra told reporters here on the margins of a workshop on improving agricultural statistics.

The government has fixed minimum support price (MSP) at Rs.1,000 for a quintal or 100 kilogram for wheat, and Rs.850 per quintal for rice.

Mishra, however, said there would be a slight fall in the area cultivating sugarcane, but the overall output might not be affected.

“A slight decrease in acreage does not mean less production of sugarcane,” Mishra said, adding that farmers would always go for crops which gave them better prices.

As per government data, India’s staple food crop, rice, is being cultivated on an area of over three million hectares as of June 26, against the 2.84 million hectares in the corresponding period last year.

The official estimates put rice demand in India at 128 million tonnes for 2012 and will require a production level of 3,000 kg per hectare against the present average yield of 1930 kilograms per hectare.

The government has set a production target of 129 million tonnes of rice by 2011-12, while consumption in 2006-07 was 88.25 million tonnes.

In April 2008, rice production went up to 95.68 million tonnes. Official data showed agriculture, comprising fishery and forest products, grew at the rate of 4.5 percent in 2007-08 against 3.8 percent in 2006-07.

Mishra said the state agriculture and statistics departments should work together for higher precision in data collection and timely compilation.

“Reliable data are required so that decisions on policies and their implementation can be taken with all necessary information in hand,” Mishra said in his inaugural address at the workshop.

He said the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) has completed a pilot study to develop an alternative methodology to estimate the area and production of horticulture crops.

Said S.M. Jharwal, principal adviser, agriculture ministry: “The contribution of agricultural sector in gross domestic production (GDP) was 17.8 percent in 2007-08, and clocked a growth rate of 4.5 percent during the same period.”

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