India hopes for bumper harvest next year

India hopes for bumper harvest next year

India witnessed a bumper production of 234.47 million tonnes in 2008. The subsequent year was a drought year for close to 300 districts as a result of which production came to 218 million tonnes. Good monsoon kindles the hope for improved food grain production.
“Good southwest monsoon will be favourable for the wheat crop next year. The reservoirs are full. The level of water storage in Bhakra dam, for instance, is not seen in the last 30 years. Our expectation, after talking to the states, is that 2010-11 will be bumper crop year,’’ he said.

However, Pawar admitted that there are problems as well. The drought pocket in eastern India is the most important one.  Rainfall is deficient in paddy growing areas of gangetic West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, eastern Uttar Pradesh, east Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, which may affect the production.

A fresh rain spell between September 18 and 21 — predicted by the Indian Meteorological Department — could spell trouble in harvesting paddy. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have cultivated five lakh hectares of low-yielding traditional basmati which can be harvested only late into the rabi season.

The Centre will give away Rs 500 per farmer in the drought-hit districts of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal so that they can purchase diesel to power their pump set in the rabi season. An additional allocation of Rs 500 crore has been made for this purpose, he said.
However, since Bihar is going to the polls in October, the agriculture ministry has to take the Election Commission’s permission before doling out the diesel subsidy.

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