Rice production may fall short of 100 mn tonne target

Rice production may fall short of 100 mn tonne target


New Delhi: India’s rice production is likely to fall short of the targetted 100 million tonne in 2010-11 crop year, on account of drought and floods in some parts of the country, a top agriculture ministry official said today.

“Production of 100 million tonne of rice seems doubtful this year, as there has been damage to the Kharif crop due to floods in Uttar Pradesh and drought in eastern states," P. K. Basu, agriculture secretary, told reporters here.

Basu noted that the country’s total rice output could reach around 95 million tonne in case of good rabi crop.

According to the first advance estimate released by the ministry last month, rice production was projected to rise to 80.41 million tonne in kharif season of 2010-11 crop year (July-June) against 75.91 million tonne in the last kharif.

However, this is short of the 87 million tonne target for the kharif season, which the government had estimated on the basis of good monsoon forecast.

The secretary pointed out that the estimated Kharif output has fallen short of the 87 million tonne target, mainly because of the excess rains in Uttar Pradesh and drought in Bihar, Jharkhand and some parts of West Bengal.

Basu said that paddy productivity was higher in kharif season but hoped the same would be achieved in rabi season.

“If similar yields we manage to get in rabi season, I hope we will be able to produce 14.5 million tonne," he said, adding that inputs like seeds and fertilisers were already in place for undertaking sowing of rabi crops that will commence next month.

In the current kharif season, paddy yields per hectare rose to 2,177 kg from 2,025 kg in 2009-10 Kharif, which helped in increasing rice output by 4.5 million tonne despite marginal fall in the paddy coverage area.

Paddy area dropped to 37 million hectare in Kharif 2010 against 37.4 million hectare in the year-ago period. Over 80% of the country’s rice output is grown in the Kharif season and the rest in the Rabi season.

India is the world’s second biggest producer of rice.

The estimated 95 million tonne of rice production in 2010-11 crop year is higher than last year’s 89.13 million tonne, but is well below the record level of 99.18 million tonne achieved in 2008-09.

In 2009-10, rice output fell by around 10 million tonne, on account of severe drought in almost half of the country.

“We will have good agricultural crop this year. Prices of food items will come down and also the role of speculators," Basu observed.