India has sufficient rice stock: Pawar

September 24th, 2009 - 4:53 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Sept 24 (ANI): Allaying fears of country falling short of rice supply, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar here today said that there was sufficient supply to fulfill the needs.

Pawar said, due to last year’s good rice production, this year, the supplies were sufficient, but efforts would need to be made to increase the production.

“Fortunately last year’s production was good. So, the position of our stock is okay. We have sufficient stock, but we will have to work towards increasing the production here,” said Pawar on the sidelines of a Conference for Rabi Campaign.

Upon being asked whether prices of rice will increase, Pawar said, the impact of drought on this year’s crop might have an impact on the prices.

“There is a gap and the impact of drought is also there. So when there is an impact of drought, it will have some effect on the prices. We have to find out way to get out of this situation,” he said.

Pawar also added that India will extend permission for tax-free imports of white sugar beyond November, a move which should help cover a domestic shortage and help contain rising prices.

“We will extend that,” he added.

The Minister said local sugar prices were expected to soften from the end of October.Sugar prices in India, the world’s second top producer after Brazil, have surged about 55 per cent in 2009 due to a fall of more than 40 per cent in domestic output to about 15 million tons.

Pawar said the extended monsoon season would boost sowing prospects for winter-sown crops such as wheat by improving soil moistures. The winter sowing season starts next month.

He said a lower area for summer-sown rice would lead to higher area for wheat, the main winter-sown food crop. (ANI)

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