Indian govt set a higher wheat production target for winter season
New Delhi, Sept 18:
The government has set up a higher wheat production target of 94 million tonne for the forthcoming rabi or winter season for utilising available soil moisture due to late arrival of monsoon rains across key growing areas.
In 2013-14, the country had set a wheat output target of 92.5 million tonne but achieved a record production of 95.91 million tonne.
The agriculture ministry also asked states to go in for early sowing of rabi or winter crops such as mustard and sorghum particularly in the north and western parts of the country which have received deficit monsoon rainfall.
“Although south-west monsoon rains have been erratic and delayed this year, there is no threat of pest in the kharif crop. The farmers should commence early sowing of rabi crop by next month,” Agriculture commissioner JS Sandhu said at the National Conference on Rabi Campaign.
Sandhu said due to erratic monsoon rains, the kharif crops could not be sown in more than 3.3 million hectare of land where farmers should sow mustard and sorghum early for using soil moisture available because of late arrivals of monsoon in many regions.
“Our focus is to increase oilseeds and pulses production in rabi season for making up shortfall in kharif production,” an agriculture ministry official said.
As per latest kharif sowing data, there has been 6% and 8.5% decline in pulses and oilseeds sowing respectively, which is expected to result in higher imports for the country.
Around 35% of the country total annual oilseeds production of around 31 million tonnes and around 65% of country 19 million tonne pulses comes from the rabi season.
Two day national conference being attended by agriculture secretaries from the state to formulate strategies for augmenting rabi output following delayed and deficit monsoon rainfall in many parts during the ongoing southwest monsoon season.
The target for rabi rice output has been kept at 14 million tonne, pulses at 12.5 million tonne and oilseeds at 11 million tonne
Speaking at the conference agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said “we have motivated states to achieve the rabi sowing target tackling all challenges.”
Dismissing fears of sharp drop in area sown to kharif crops, Singh said, “kharif acreage is down only by 3% so far despite 11% deficit monsoon rains. The situation is much better than the drought year of 2009,”.
Meanwhile, the rabi conference is also expected to suggest special measures for Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, where drought have been declared in the large parts of the states.
“We agree that rainfall was not sufficient this year but the contingency plan for 500 districts and diesel and seed subsidy and financial support for horticultural crop growers among others has helped to reduce the impact of low rains,” Singh noted.
He also asked the states to concentrate on region specific crop planning, pre-position crop inputs like seeds in advance and promote moisture conservation, timely sowing and micro-irrigation.
Rabi sowing starts from early November onward and the crop is harvested from February and March onwards, while kharif crops are sown in June-July and the harvesting starts from October onwards.