186 lakh tonne rice to be produced in current year
Hyderabad, Mar 25 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy told the Assembly today that rice production this year was expected to be around 186 lakh tonne.
Replying to D Narendra Kumar, Kottapalli Subbarayadu and Yanamala Rama Krishnudu of the TDP during question hour, he said 109 lakh tonne was already produced during the Kharif season and the rest was expected during the ongoing Rabi. Production during Kharif was seven lakh tonne more than that during 2001-02.
He said higher production was possible due to higher productivity. Productivity had gone down in the East and West Godavari districts, the two main rice producing districts, initially, due to a month-long dry spell and then untimely rain.
Production in Telangana was good.
Referring to the opposition charge that productivity had gone down due to the government's neglect of agriculture, Mr Reddy said apart from rice, which had gone down by three per cent and groundnut, 25 per cent, productivity of all other grains and pulses had gone up.
The Minister said while the TDP during its last year of rule had given Rs 8,661 crore as crop loans, the present Congress government had given Rs 8,661 crore during the last year. It was giving Rs 13,000 crore during Kharif and Rabi seasons this year. While seed replacement was 18 per cent during the TDP regime, it was now 35 per cent. For the first time in the state the Rajasekhara Reddy government had provided loans even to tenant farmers, he said.
The government spent Rs 90 crore as 50 per cent subsidy towards machanisation. It achieved higher productivity due to reduction in use of pesticides from 4,000 tonne last year to 1,750 tonne this year. Use of fertilisers rose to 24 lakh tonne from 20 lakh tonne.
On the charge that Agriculture Extension Officers recruited during the TDP rule were removed, Mr Reddy said all posts in the department were being filled up. AEO posts had already been filled up.
Yanamala Rama Krishnudu (TDP) said while Finance Minister K Rosaiah in his budget speech said rice production was expected to be 152 lakh tonne, the Agriculture Minister was now saying it would be 186 lakh tonnes and asked who was 'misleading' the House. Mr Rosaiah said the information provided by him was supplied by the Statistics Department and the information provided by Mr Reddy given by his department. The figures were only estimates and there were bound to be disparities when two departments prepared them. He said final figures of production would be the same.