Decrease in rice production in Assam

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Guwahati, Jul 16: Over 2.26 lakh farmers' loans have been waived in Assam as per the Union Budget's provision for farmers' loan waiver, even as the state witnessed a decreasing trend in rice production over the years.

As many as 3,51,169 farmers had taken loans in the state since 2001 to 2008, with 2,26,493 farmers getting their loans waived after the latest announcement of loan waiver, state Agriculture Minister Pramila Rani Brahma informed the Assembly today.

The land area under paddy cultivation in the state has decreased from 25.36 lakh hectares in 2001-02 to 24.43 lakh hectares in 2007-08 even as the demand for rice went up from 36.59 lakh tonnes in 2003-04 to 38.50 lakh tonnes in 2007-08, the minister informed in replies to separate questions.

The state produced 93 per cent of the total rice needed in 2007-08, while the percentage had gone down to 75.80 in the previous year.

Altogether 89.50 tonnes of Joha rice (aromatic rice) was exported by the state, with 17.50 tonnes sold to Europe. The remaining 32 tonnes were bought by a Haryana firm for exporting.

The state has 30.15 lakh hectares cultivable land, of which 27.52 lakh hectares are used for the purpose.

With regard to seed production in the state, 1,01,794.21 quintal seeds were imported in 2007-08, with the 13 seed farms producing foundation seeds and 12 farms producing certified seeds not being able to meet the demand.

UNI

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