Centre ready for rabi sowing, lowers wheat target

Centre ready for rabi sowing, lowers wheat target

New Dehli: With kharif crops affected by drought, the Centre is gearing up for the rabi season and will hold a meeting on Thursday with states to chalk out strategies to boost production and make up for losses of summer-sown crops.

The two-day national conference on rabi crops, organised by the agriculture ministry, will deliberate on achieving the wheat production target of 79 million tonnes (MT) in 2009-10 season, an official said.

According to the agenda paper for the meeting, the target is to produce 79 MT of wheat, slightly lower than the record 80.58 MT produced during 2008-09. Last year, the wheat output target was 78.5 million tonnes.

Wheat, a major rabi crop, accounts for nearly 35% of the total foodgrains production of India. The sowing picks up from the first week of November and continues till January.

The production target for rice in the rabi season has been kept at 14.50 MT, jowar at 3.90 MT, and barley at 1.55 MT, as against last year’s target of 14 MT, 3.90 MT and 1.50 MT, respectively.

Agriculture commissioner N.B. Singh recently said improvement in water level in reservoirs and rains in the current month are beneficial for the rabi season.

During the kharif season (June-September) this year, sowing was affected and the acreage of key crops like rice declined due to deficient rains.

In the agenda paper, the Centre has also outlined a broad strategy for planting rabi crops and suggested various steps for major growing states to ensure timely sowing.