Ahmedabad: Foodgrain production in Gujarat is expected to rise by about 9% for the year to March 2009, boosted by a strong second round of monsoon showers after a dry spell that lasted two weeks.
The production is expected to rise to 6.66 million tonnes (mt) in 2008-09 from 6.12mt a year ago, as farmland for sowing foodgrains also increased to 3.43 million ha from 3.39 million ha, minister for agriculture Dilip Sanghani said.
Already, farmers have completed sowing in 30.26% of cultivable land in the state from April to end-June, he added. “If the rains are good, we expect total agricultural production in Gujarat to be worth more than Rs37,000 crore,” Sanghani said. “This will definitely be good news for the state’s rural economy.”
Aiming high: A shopkeeper selling pulses. Gujarat is targeting a 22% increase in pulses production to 800,000 tonnes in 2008-09.
The state is targeting a 22% increase in pulses production to 8,00,000 tonnes in 2008-09, as the area under cultivation increased to 9,94,000ha from 8,47,000ha last year. To contain inflation, the government has banned exports of food items including wheat, rice, cooking oils and pulses.
Gujarat also expects oilseed production to increase to 4.71mt by the end of the July-October kharif season, from 4.14mt a year ago.
“After a painfully dry spell of two weeks, rains returned to many parts of the state over the previous weekend,” an official of the agriculture department said. “Of the nearly 8.58 million ha of land under cultivation in Gujarat, sowing has been completed in 2.6 million ha till 30 June,” he added, but asked not to be named.
Of these, about 2.2 million ha is spread over the eight districts of the Saurashtra-Kutch region. The average rainfall in this region has been 145.75mm since the onset of monsoon three weeks ago. Of the 1.77 million ha under groundnut cultivation in Gujarat, farmers have completed sowing in 1.37 million ha as on 30 June, topping the list of sowing activities in the state. Sowing of cotton has been completed in 8,59,000ha, or 30% of the area under this cash crop. Bajra and corn have been sown in 1,51,000ha and pulses in 47,000ha.
From January to end June, Gujarat produced more than 3mt of wheat at 3.5 tonnes per ha, and is expected to catch up with Punjab’s productivity of 5-6 tonnes per ha in the next two-three years, he added.
Gujarat’s contribution to the country’s cotton production has increased to 40% in 2007-08 from 17% in 2001-02. In 2006-07, the state produced 9.2 million bales of cotton. One bale is 170kg.
However, due to bad weather in March-April, cotton yield for the first six months of 2008-09 fell to nearly 10 million bales from the expected 12.5 million bales.
In the past five years, Gujarat’s farm production has increased to about Rs34,000 crore from Rs9,000 crore, the official said.