Kharif foodgrain output likely to touch record 150 mn tn this year: Agri secy

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NEW DELHI, Sept 13 (PTI): The country’s foodgrain production is likely to touch a new record of over 150 million tonnes in the Kharif season of the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) due to good rains, Agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal said on Monday.

Sowing of Kharif (summer) crops like paddy, which begins with the onset of the Southwest monsoon from June, will be over by the end of this month. Harvesting in most of the parts will commence from October.

“We have received good rains so far this year. Total Kharif foodgrain production was 149.56 million tonnes last year as per the fourth estimate. As there is likely to be an increase in area under pulses and paddy, foodgrain production will definitely be much higher than last year’s Kharif season,” Agarwal told reporters.

The Agriculture ministry is expecting foodgrain production to be more than 150 million tonnes in the Kharif season this year, higher than 149.56 million tonnes achieved in the same season of the 2020-21 crop year, he said.

The first estimate of the country’s overall foodgrain production for this Kharif season will be released around September 15, he added.

Agarwal said Kharif foodgrain production has been pegged higher despite area sown to summer crops so far remaining lower by 10 lakh hectares compared to the year-ago period, as the ministry is expecting the gap in the coverage to get reduced by the end of September.

Total area sown to Kharif crops reached 1,096.70 lakh hectares till September 10 this year as against 1,106.57 lakh hectares in the year-ago period, he said.

The secretary said there has been a slight increase in the coverage of paddy and pulses, while a major drop in area under crops such as coarse cereals, cotton and groundnut.

“However, the gap in coverage is getting reduced as sowing in some parts will get over by the end of this month. Looking at the current situation, we are definitely expecting better production this time,” he asserted.

Agarwal also said that the states have been asked to take necessary steps for procurement of Kharif crops as in some states the arrival of crops has begun.

For instance in Karnataka, arrival of pulses crop has begun and permission to the state government has been given for procurement of about 40,000 tonne, he said.

The secretary also mentioned that he will hold a meeting with Punjab and Haryana in preparation for addressing the stubble burning issue.

The central government has released about Rs 235 crore to Punjab and Rs 141 crore to Haryana in the 2021-22 fiscal for addressing air pollution arising from stubble burning of crop residue, he added.

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