Sunday, Sep 14, 2003
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By Gargi Parsai
Last year's foodgrain output is estimated to be 37.43 million tonnes short of the target on account of widespread drought. Foodgrain production is expected to be 182.57 million tonnes, as against a target of 220 million tonnes for 2002-03.
Similarly, the production target for cotton, jute and mesta has also been retained at last year's level. The rabi target for wheat has been set at last year's level of 78 million tonnes, as against an output of 69.32 million tonnes this year.
The Ministry of Agriculture has organised a Rabi Conference later this month with State Governments to discuss how best to achieve the targets. The conference will also firm up the targets proposed by the Centre.
The target for rice is 93 million tonnes, for wheat 78 million tonnes, coarse cereals 34 million tonnes, pulses 15 million tonnes, sugarcane 320 million tonnes and jute and mesta 120 lakh bales of 180 kg each.
However, the area sown and productivity of rice has shown an increasing trend. For rabi/summer rice a target of 14.36 million tonnes has been set for 2003-04, as against an estimated production of 9.21 million tonnes only for 2002-03. The target for oilseeds is set at 247 lakh tonnes for the year.
This season, the Central Government has decided to announce the minimum support price for rabi "well in advance" with greater emphasis on timely sowing of wheat crop.
To encourage popularisation of durum wheat in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka, the Government proposes to give a higher minimum support price for this variety. Durum is much in demand in the international market.
The Union Government has also asked States to diversify from the rice-wheat and rice-rice system and prepare a Contingency Plan for rabi 2003-04.
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