India’s foodgrain output at 230 mn tonnes may moderate prices (Lead)

July 9th, 2008 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) India’s food grain production at 230.67 million tonnes in 2007-08 will help in moderating food prices, a senior government official said Wednesday. “There has been only 5 to 7 percent increase in food prices, while in other countries prices of farm articles have shot up to 80 percent. Good crops will certainly help in moderating prices,” agriculture secretary P.K. Mishra told reporters.

India’s headline inflation has been maintaining an upward swing for several months, and touched a 13-year high at 11.63 percent for the week ended June 21.

As per the fourth Advance Estimates of Crop Production for 2007-08, there is an absolute increase of 13.39 million tonnes in food production at 230.67 million tonnes as compared to 217.28 million tonnes for 2006-07.

Mishra, who released details of fourth Advance Estimates, said production of rice stood at 96.43 million tonnes, wheat 78.40 million tonnes, coarse cereals 40.73 million tonnes, maize 19.31 million tonnes, pulses 15.11 million tonnes, and oilseeds 28.82 million tonnes.

Mishra attributed the increase in crop production to quality seeds, better credit facilities for farmers, and several steps such as the Food Security Mission.

“A series of efforts like availability of quality seeds and adequate quantity of fertilisers along with the hard work of farmers, have contributed significantly to enhanced crop production,” Mishra said.

Asked if the government should lift the ban on the export of non-basmati rice in view of a bumper crop, Mishra said: “It is up to the government to decide.”

He said there were good prospects for summer (kharif) crops during the current season as well as there was a good monsoon. “Good monsoon gives us the hope to have a better yield,” he said.

The latest estimates on crop production have estimated an increase by about three million tonnes in rice production, and while that of wheat by 2.6 million tonnes.

“The production of coarse cereals has gone up by 6.8 million tonnes, pulses by one million tonnes, and oil seeds by 4.5 million tonnes in 2007-08,” Mishra said.

The Advance Estimates of crop production are done by the agriculture ministry’s Department of Agriculture.

“These estimates are based on the feedback from states and validated with the information available from other sources,” Mishra said.

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