Cyclone Phailin not to hit local rice supplies or its exports: Thomas

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Cyclone Phailin not to hit food supplies
New Delhi, Oct 14: Severe cyclone that ravaged crops in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh will not hit domestic supply of rice or its exports, Food Minister K V Thomas said today.

The cyclonic storm 'Phailin' had hit east coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh yesterday. It has left a trail of destruction in coastal areas, ravaging crops, infrastructure and flattening hundreds of houses.

Asked if rice supplies would be affected due to cyclone, Thomas said: "How can it be? Our production is so high. We have ample stocks that shows India's strength." Rice production has grown over the years despite some parts of the country being affected by one or the other natural disaster, he told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

"India's rice and wheat are getting good price in the international market. There is no curb on exports," he added.

Rice production from this year's summer crop, which is being harvested slowly in some parts of the country, is estimated at 92.31 million tonnes. Odisha and Andhra Pradesh normally produce 18-20 million tonnes of rice. Rice stock in the government godowns are at 19 million tonnes as of now, against the requirement of 7.2 million tonnes.

India has removed curbs on rice and wheat exports since September 2011 owing to surplus production. On sugar production, Thomas said, "We are expecting 25 million tonnes of output in the 2013-14 marketing year, against the demand of 22 million tonnes."

The government projections on sugar output are in line with the industry. However, production in 2013-14 is likely to be slighly lower than last year's 25.1 million tonnes. The sugar marketing year runs from October to September.

India the world's second biggest sugar producer.

PTI

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