Mah produces record 155 lakh tonnes of foodgrains

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Nagpur, May 23 (UNI) Maharashtra has produced a record 155 lakh tonnes of foodgrains during 2007-2008--the highest since the formation of the state in 1960, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Balasaheb Thorat.

The figures represent record production in all crops, except sugarcane, Thorat told reporters here yesterday.

Maharashtra has also achieved a record 'crop growth rate' of 5.5 per cent in terms of yield, up from 2.5 per cent the previous year, Mr Thorat said. It is much more than the national average, he said.

''The crop growth rate is a more accurate indicator of the growth in the agriculture sector. Mere growth rate indicates the increase in terms of value, which can vary due to several factors, including price,'' the Agriculture minister said.

Maharashtra has also achieved an all-time high production of cotton at 75 lakh bales last year, up from 45 lakh bales the previous year, Mr Thorat said. Significantly, this was achieved with the same area under the crop, and is the result of the efforts to boost yield, the minister said.

Mr Thorat said the Planning Commission has taken note of the state government's efforts to boost yield, and has decided to replicate some of Maharashtra's programmes in other parts of the country.

Among these was a programme wherein farmers were advised about the crop to be taken, and the kind and quantity of fertiliser to be used, on the basis of micro-level data from soil maps, he said.

The other programmes were the processing of seeds before sowing and the farmers training workshops in villages, he added.

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