India concerned over use of foodgrains to produce biofuels

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New Delhi, Apr 25 (UNI) The Centre has expressed concern over the unprecedented rise in foodgrain prices making them unaffordable for the poorer sections due to use of foodgrains for bio-fuels production, Parliament was informed today.

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kantilal Bhuria told Rajya Sabha in a written reply, India had conveyed its views at the Third International Grain Summit-2008 held at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt recently.

He said household consumption requirement of rice and wheat during 2007-08 in the country was estimated at 89.47 million tonnes and 68.59 million tonnes respectively against which production was estimated at 95.68 million tonnes and 76.78 million tonnes respectively as per Third Advance Estimates-2007-08, indicating adequate availability of both foodgrains.

Regarding food security, Mr Bhuria said the National Food Security Mission had been launched from Rabi 2007-08 and was in operation in 311 districts of 17 states to enhance wheat, rice and pulses production.

As for the shortfall of foodgrains in the country, the Minister told the House that with progressive rise in total foodgrain production from 208.6 million tonnes in 2005-06 to 217.28 million tonnes in 2006-07 and 227.32 million tonnes in 2007-08 (according to the Third Advance Estimates), there was no shortfall in foodgrains in the country.

UNI SD AM PM1403

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