Agriculture minister unfazed by poor monsoon forecasts

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New Delhi, June 4: Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh exuded confidence over tackling deficient monsoon, minimising production losses and its possible impact on overall economy.

He also said that the government is working on bringing a new crop insurance policy by end of this year to protect farmers' income.

poor-rain

To check price rise in pulses, the Minister said that the government is mulling over improving domestic supplies through imports and is collecting pulses requirement data from states.

Addressing a press conference organised to highlight the Agriculture Ministry's one year achievement, Singh said: "In agriculture sector, there would obviously be some losses if there are problems (of deficient rains). We have confidence and policies in place to ensure there is minimum damage to agriculture sector and overall economy."

At present, the government is ready with contingency plans for 580 districts and is in touch with state governments and agriculture research bodies to tackle the situation, he added.

Stating that Indian agriculture is resilient to rainfall deficit, Singh said, "When we came to power, we faced drought-like situation. Everyone were tensed. But our ministry worked hard to minimise the damage. There were losses in production but the losses were not that huge. This time, we will face the situation based on our earlier experience." Asked if bad days are ahead for farmers, the minister said, "Good and bad days are creation of man-made or nature.

Man-made bad days have ended and good days have begun..." The government cannot stop natural calamity but it has the responsibility to face any eventualities, he said adding that efforts would be made to reduce the impact of deficit rains on agriculture output.

The Met department has predicted "deficient" monsoon and revised its forecast from 93 per cent to 88 per cent for this year, with north-west region of the country expected to be hit the most.

Last year, the country had received 12 per cent less rains, which hit production of grains, cotton and oilseeds.

According to the government's estimate, total foodgrains production has declined to 251.12 million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from a record production of 265.04 million tonnes in the previous year.

Due to poor monsoon, agriculture growth stood at 0.2 per cent in the 2014-15 fiscal.

PTI

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