New Delhi: India’s rice production is likely to be higher in the 2011-12 crop year than last year’s 95.32 million tonnes on the back of good monsoon in paddy producing states, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Tuesday.
Pawar also said that the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on food would soon take a decision on allowing more sugar exports. The government has already allowed one million tonnes of exports so far this year.
“We will be able to produce more rice than last year,” he told reporters here.
The agriculture ministry has set a target of 102 million tonnes of rice production in 2011-12 crop year (July-June). Rice is cultivated in both Kharif and rabi season but bulk of production comes from Kharif.
“Last year, Bihar, Jharkhand, eastern Uttar Pradesh and some districts of West Bengal did not receive good rainfall. This year, monsoon is good in Bihar, Jharkhand, entire UP and entire West Bengal,” Pawar said, while giving reasons for prospects of higher rice production.
The minister said so far area under coverage for paddy, cotton and sugarcane is higher, but acreage is lower in case of pulses.
“The clear picture of sowing area would be clear by August-end,” Pawar said.
Area under paddy cultivation increased by 6% to 26.03 million hectares till 5 August this year as against 24.47 million hectares in the year-ago period. Kharif Paddy is sown during June-July and harvested by September-October.
When asked about sugar exports, Pawar said, “The EGoM will soon take a decision on this”.
The minister favoured allowing more sugar exports, considering huge closing stocks of six million tonnes, stable retail prices and prospects of even better production in 2011-12 season starting October this year.
The country’s sugar production is estimated at 24.2 million tonnes in the 2010-11 season (September-October) as against nearly 19 million tonnes in the previous year.
The sugar output of India, the world’s second largest producer, is estimated at 26 million tonnes in next season.
The annual domestic demand is pegged at 21-21.5 million tonnes.