India's food situation not bad: Pawar

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (UNI) The Government today sought to allay fears of the global food crisis affecting the country and said an advance estimated production of foodgrains in 2007-2008 was 227.32 million tonnes.

Replying to the discussion in Rajya Sabha on the Working of the Agriculture Ministry, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that included 95.60 million tonnes rice, 76.78 million tonnes wheat, 39.67 million tonnes cereal and 15.19 million tonnes pulses.

Sharing the concern of the members on farmer suicides in various parts of the country, particularly the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, the Minister dished out figures to show that the number had actually declined.

He, however, said the situation needed to be rectified.

He said the government had planned to provide to banks within three years the money that they would lose as a result of the Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver to farmers.

He also said the government would set up soil testing mobile laboratories at a cost of Rs 30 lakh each in several districts.

Earlier, Samajwadi Party member Amar Singh bemoaned the pathetic condition of the farmers who, he said, were losing the battle for survival against growing corporatisation of Indian agriculture.

Initiating the discussion, Mr Singh drew the attention to the plight of farmers, saying those from Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh were being forced to commit suicide while in Tamil Nadu rice and coconut growers were indulging in distress sales, as were sugarcane farmers in Uttar Pradesh due to unremunerative prices.

Eds: Here pick up from 3rd para of PAR 27' Agriculture RSA'.


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