Monsoon delayed but situation not worrisome: Pawar (Second Lead)July 3rd, 2012 - 5:06 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) There has been a two-week delay in the monsoon but the situation is not serious, union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said here Tuesday and added that rainfall would pick up by next week.
“Yes, monsoon has been delayed by two weeks…but situation is not as serious as it is made out to be. We expect the rainfall to pick up next week onwards,” Pawar told reporters.
He said the deficiency in rainfall was 31 percent till July 2.
“The Met department has told me that July and August will get good monsoon and there will be ample opportunity to cover the gap in sowing due to delayed monsoon in June,” he said.
According to the minister, early sowing has been affected in some states.
“It is true that in certain states early sowing has been affected, particularly Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” he said.
Sowing of paddy (rice), the main summer (kharif) crop, is 0.19 million hectares less than in 2011, the minister said, expressing the hope that good rains in the eastern and northeastern parts of the country would help in bringing more area under paddy cultivation.
“The situation of rice sowing is not worrisome.”
Among the coarse cereals, less rain in central and western parts has affected sowing of maize, barley and jowar — 1.4 million hectares was covered this year as compared to 2.47 million hectares normally, he said.
Sowing of pulses was less by 0.21 million hectares compared to last year, the minister disclosed, hoping that it would pick up in the next two weeks.
Cotton sowing was up by 0.65 million hectares and sugarcane by 0.30 million hectares than the normal.
Pawar also said that states were ready with their contingency plans in case of further delay in monsoon and had been told to keep sufficient quantity of seeds ready if there was need to shift crop.
Stating that 2011 had been the best crop production year, he said a comparison should be made with a normal year.
“The situation this year may not be fully satisfactory, but it is not bad,” he said.
Pawar assured the country that it had sufficient food stocks. Against a buffer norm of 33 million tonnes, food stocks as on June 1 stood at 82 million tonnes.
“There are sufficient stocks of food grain available in the country and the government is ready to supply if the states ask for it. Government will take a decision to enter the open market at an appropriate time,” he said.
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