Rains so far good; will help produce 102mn tons of rice: Basu

Rains so far good; will help produce 102mn tons of rice: Basu

New Delhi: Buoyed by initial progress of monsoon, the government expects to achieve a record rice production of 102 million tonnes in the 2011-12 crop year, a top official of the Agriculture Ministry said on Monday.

“This year, the starting of monsoon rains have been damn good. If this kind of rains continue, I am confident that the country’s rice production will touch 102 million tonnes," Agriculture secretary P K Basu said in a interview.

The progress of southwest monsoon and its spread across the country is “perfect" till date, he said, adding that he hoped that the area under paddy and other Kharif crops will be better than 2010.

However, he added, “But we have to watch rains in July month as they are very important for sowing of Kharif crops."

The Agriculture Ministry has fixed a target of 102 million tonnes for the 2011-12 crop year (July-June). Bulk of the paddy is sown in the Kharif season, which has already started from June.

Basu further said the sowing of kharif crops is not in full swing and the announcement of hike in the minimum support price (MSP) will help farmers to take a considered view on what to plant in the current season.

The government announced hike of up to 16% in the MSP of Kharif crops. MSP of paddy (common) has been fixed at 1,080 per quintal, while that of cotton (long length staple) at 3,300 per quintal.

Southwest monsoon set in over Kerala on 29 May 2011, two days earlier than the forecast made by the India Meteorological Department.