NEW DELHI: The government on Monday said it would be a challenge to match the record crop production levels of the past two years in the wake of the monsoon playing truant in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
“This year, with monsoon playing hide and seek, it will be really a challenge to maintain the excellent performance of the last two years,” Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said. The government is concerned that scanty rains in Maharashtra and Karnataka and parts of Andhra Pradesh will affect sowing of summer crop this year.
Food production was 235 million tonnes in 2010-11 and is expected to be over 250 million tonnes in 2011-12, officials told IANS.
Monsoon rains are crucial as around 60 per cent of agriculture depend on them. “This continues to challenge the farming community, scientists and the policy makers alike,” said Pawar adding, “The government is ready to face any monsoon eventualities.” He said there are sufficient quantities of seed of late-sown varieties of various crops and these have been dispatched to different states. “Steps have also been taken to provide sufficient quantities of seeds of rabi pulses to compensate for any loss in the kharif season,” he said.
Earlier, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam called for establishing research missions with an aim to take food grain production to 350 million tonnes by 2020.