Poor rains may affect food grain production

Poor rains may affect food grain production

The government on Thursday announced that food grain production will likely fail to reach the target of 132 lakh tonnes, thanks to the vagaries of monsoon this year.

Food grain production may, at the most, reach 128 lakh tonnes — nearly 25 per cent less than the target. And it may not be suprising if it hovers around 100 lakh tonnes.

Disclosing the status of food grain production, Agriculture Minister Umesh V Katti on Thursday told reporters that while parts of the State received excess rainfall, large areas remained dry. The situation indicates food grain production will fall, he said.

Last year’s target was 130 lakh tonnes and the production reached 132.9 lakh tonnes. The State even won a national award for its good performance in the agriculture sector.
During kharif season, it was planned to take up sowing in 74.65 lakh hectares. But only 69.15 lakh hectares were covered due to poor rainfall. It was planned to cover 38 lakh hectares — including in areas that were not covered during the kharif season — during the rabi season, but even that has not been achieved.

During the monsoon, the expected rainfall from June to September was 804 mm. But the average rainfall was 776 mm. As many as 84 taluks are reeling under drought, the minister said.

The State required 23.35-lakh tonnes of fertilisers, but the supply from the Centre was only 21.95 lakh tonnes. It is but natural for farmers to be worried, he said.

Replying to a question why ministers, who own sugar factories, are willing to supply power generated in the co-generation units to the government, Katti said if the price was attractive, the factories would not hesitate to supply power.

Janata Dal (S) leader H D Revanna had said power from co-generation units was available at Rs 2.60 per unit when he was the energy minister. Now, power is not available at such a cheap price.

The units, which had signed an agreement with the government, had been selling power at Rs 3.20 per unit. But once the agreement expires, it is not possible to sell power even at this price, he added.

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