Agri and allied sector to grow by 3.5 pc this fiscal: Pawar

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New Delhi, Jan 21 (PTI) The growth of agriculture andallied sector is expected to rise to 3.5 per cent this fiscalfrom 0.2 per cent in the previous year on account of higherfoodgrains production, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar saidtoday.

"The growth of agriculture and allied sector is expectedto be 3.5 per cent this fiscal," Pawar told reporters here.

The sector during the first and second quarter of FY''11grew by 2.5 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively.

The minister said the food situation was comfortable andproduction of wheat, rice, pulses and sugarcane would behigher than last year.

"I don''t see problem in wheat, rice, pulses and sugarcanecrops. We are in a comfortable position. Oilseeds, we have towork more," he said.

India''s foodgrains output in 2009-10 crop year haddeclined to 218.2 million tonnes from the record production of234.47 million tonnes in 2008-09 on account of severe droughtconditions that hit almost half of the country.

The Agriculture Ministry is estimating the foodgrains''production in 2010-11 would be between 230-234 million tonnesand might even beat the record production of 2008-09.

Pawar noted that wheat crop is extremely good in Punjab,Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. "My observation is thatwheat crop will be better than last year".

The Agriculture Ministry is targeting wheat production of82 million tonnes in 2010-11 crop year (July-June) as againstrecord 80.71 million tonnes in the previous year.

On paddy, he said: " By and large, the crop is good. The(paddy) crop was damaged because of unseasonal rains. Thedamage is in terms of discolour and spots but quantity wise,there is no problem".

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