Maximise food grain production in rabi season, says Pawar


New Delhi : Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Thursday called for achieving higher food grain output in the rabi season “to compensate the production losses in the kharif season”.

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Inaugurating a two-day conference on Rabi Campaign here, Pawar said: “The early meeting on rabi campaign will give a good opportunity to plan well in advance the steps needed to mitigate the situation arising out of the partial failure of kharif 2009.”

The government is monitoring the situation “very closely” and will ensure standing crops are saved, he said.

India’s food grain output is expected to fall by millions of tonnes due to weak monsoon in several parts of the country.

The deficient and erratic monsoon has adversely impacted the kharif crop with nearly six million hectares remaining unsown, said Pawar.

He advised the eastern states, particularly Assam, West Bengal and Bihar, to bring additional crop area under boro rice to compensate the deficient rice production.

Boro rice is the crop grown from October-November to May-June, especially in low-lying areas or river deltas.

“The late revival of monsoon has improved the ground water and the reservoir levels and there is need to make best use of the available water by a good and efficient water distribution system,” Pawar said.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas said at another function here that the government was taking “all possible steps” to increase agricultural output.

“The government is also taking steps to enable farmers to have easy access to credit at affordable rates,” Thomas said.