Govt not worried about monsoon; sees grain output at 2011 level

Food Minister K V Thomas today said there is no worry about monsoon and foodgrain production is expected to be at last year's level.

On the back of good monsoon in 2011, the country harvested a record foodgrain production of 252.56 million tonnes.

"We are concerned about the IMD report of average monsoon this year. However, we are not worried about it. We expect the foodgrains production to be similar to last year," Thomas told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here.

Recently, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) downgraded monsoon rainfall marginally to 96 per cent of long period average and forecast good rains in July and August.
Monsoon rains arrived four days late in Kerala on June 5 and are yet to pick up.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, the planting of paddy in the ongoing kharif season has been slightly delayed across the country due to late monsoon.

As on June 22, farmers have planted paddy in 18.7 lakh hectare, the ministry data said adding less sowing has been reported in case of other kharif crops.

Farmers have sown oilseeds in 3.13 lakh hectare, coarse cereals in 5.59 lakh hectares, cotton in 21 lakh hectares and sugarcane planting in 51.52 lakh hectares so far in the 2012-13 crop year (July-June).

The sowing of Kharif crops like paddy, pulses and oilseeds begins from April but gains momentum after the onset of South-West monsoon in June.

Monsoon rains are crucial for agriculture as only 40 per cent of the cultivable area is under irrigation. The farm sector contributes about 15 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but it employs about 60 per cent of India's population.

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