Minister predicts 1.25-lakh tonne food output in State

Land fertility has increased with Bhoo Chetana scheme: Katti

Despite the State a facing severe drought, food production in the current financial year is expected to be 1.25-lakh tonne, Agriculture Minister Umesh Katti said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters after releasing the department’s new year diary and calendar, he said the State had produced a record 1.40 lakh tonnes of food grains in 2010-11, when there was copious rains. Despite drought in 99 taluks this year, the production is expected to be 1.25 lakh tonnes, he added.

The government will soon release the second instalment of funds to select farmers under Suvarna Bhoomi scheme. Small and marginal farmers have immensely benefited from many of the government’s schemes.

Fertility of land has increased after the implementation of Bhoo Chetana scheme, he added. Katti said he was hopeful that Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda would present a separate budget for agriculture for the fiscal year 2012-13, like his predecessor B S Yeddyurappa. “We want a separate agriculture budget and we will insist the that the chief minister does it,” he said.

Gowda, who holds the Finance portfolio, has not yet revealed whether he will present a separate agriculture budget.

Katti further said the government was committed to giving special attention to agriculture in the remaining one-and- a-half-year of its term. The chief minister will present a Rs one lakh-crore budget next year. So, the department will seek an allocation of about Rs 2,000 crore, which is about Rs 500 crore than the current year’s, he added.

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