India may produce record wheat output this year: Agri Secretary

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Agriculture
New Delhi, Nov 7: The country's wheat production this year is likely to surpass the previous record of 94.88 million tonnes on better coverage and good weather condition, Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna said today.

Production of gram, mustard seed and barley output may also exceed the previous record, if farmers receive one-two good spells of rains next month, he added.

India, the world's second-biggest wheat grower, had produced a record 94.88 million tonnes of wheat in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June), buoyed by a good monsoon. Poor rains in 2012-13 lowered the output to 92.46 million tonnes.

"As of now, rabi (winter) crop prospect is very good. Weather condition, soil moisture and water levels in reservoirs is better and ideal for wheat and other rabi crops. If weather condition remains good throughout, wheat production should be a record this year," Bahuguna said.

Although wheat sowing has been slightly delayed, but area coverage so far has been better than last year, he said. According to official data, wheat has been sown in 4.15 lakh hectares till last week, as against 83,000 hectares in the same period last year.

Total area sown for all rabi crops has also increased to 65 lakh hectares, which is three times higher than achieved during the same period of last year. Wheat is a major Rabi crop sowing of which begins from October end and harvesting from April.

Bahuguna said: "There will be more area under wheat and other crops. Yields are also expected to be better with adoption of better varieties. But we have to see weather condition in March, which would be crucial for wheat crop."

As far as other crops are concerned, he said, "If we get one or two spells of rains in December, then definitely it would be a record crop for mustard, gram and barely also." The government has set a rabi production target of 12 million tonnes for pulses, 14 million tonnes for rice, 4.4 million tonnes for maize and 1.5 million tonnes for barley.

PTI

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