Rice production in India to be lower by 10 millions tonnes

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New Delhi, Aug 19 (ANI): Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said that the production of rice in this year's kharif season may come down by about 10 million tonnes due to deficient rainfall.

Addressing State Food Ministers' conference here, Pawar said that in the wake of expectations of reduced production of rice and wheat, the government will not hesitate to undertake open market intervention and release of wheat and rice under Open Market Sale Scheme to the state governments.

He also informed that the total area coverage of paddy might come down by about 5.7 million hectares.

"Some shortfall in production of oilseeds and sugarcane is also expected as the cumulative rainfall this year has been about 29 per cent below the long period average," he added.

The country has so far received scattered and deficient rainfall, 19 per cent below average, since the beginning of June, the driest in 83 years, data from the India Meteorological Department showed.

Farmers have either dropped or delayed sowing of summer crops due to poor rains.

With the prices of vegetables and foodgrains already skyrocketing, people are apprehensive and have been protesting against the price rise across India complaining that they are no longer able to afford the most common food items. (ANI)

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