Unseasonal showers did not damage wheat crop: official

April 9th, 2008 - 11:27 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The central government Wednesday said last week’s unseasonal showers had no impact on the wheat crops in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. “The reports from these states do not show that the recent showers caused any damage to the wheat crop. Only around four to five percent of the total crop production came under the rain, but the state governments have reported no loss,” P.K. Mishra, secretary agriculture, told reporters Wednesday on the sidelines of the Global Agro-Industries Forum-2008 meet.

“As a result, we are not going to make any change in the estimated production of around 75 million tonnes of wheat in the current crop season. The government is hopeful of meeting the target,” Mishra said.

The untimely rains in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh had left experts and policy makers worried, as these states are major producers of wheat.

Punjab and Haryana contribute over 90 percent of the total procurement of wheat by the central government, agriculture ministry official said.

“In 2006-07, Punjab and Haryana, accounting for 85 percent of the country’s wheat production, contributed 91.80 lakh (9.1 million) tonnes of the total 92.31 lakh (9.2 million) tonnes procured by the Food Corporation of India.”

Official statistics reflect the precarious situation, with the buffer stock of wheat and rice already below the minimum level set by the government.

The stocks of these two commodities available in government warehouses were 19.2 million tonnes in January against the minimum norm of 20 million tonnes. This is a sharp decline from the level of 24.4 million tonnes in January 2004.

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