India may witness record foodgrains production in the 2010-11 crop year, surpassing the previous high of 234.47 million tonnes seen in 2008-09, due to an increase in the acreage under cultivation in the ongoing rabi season, a top agriculture ministry official said on Tuesday.
"It is very much achievable. Any fall in rice production from 2008-09 levels can be compensated by higher production of wheat, pulses and coarse cereals," agriculture secretary P K Basu said when asked whether the country would produce a record quantum of foodgrains in the 2010-11 crop year (July-June).
In 2008-09, the country produced 99.18 million tonnes of rice, 80.68 million tonnes of wheat, 14.57 million tonnes of pulses and 40.03 million tonnes of coarse cereals, taking total foodgrains output to a record 234.47 million tonnes.
The secretary noted that a projected decline of about 4 million tonnes in rice production in the 2010-11 crop year vis-a-vis 2008-09 levels would be largely compensated by an expected surge in pulses production by 2 million tonnes, coupled with an over 1-million tonne surge in wheat output this year.
Basu said the government would easily achieve the target for record production of 82 million tonnes of wheat and 16.5 million tonnes of pulses in the ongoing crop year.
"If there is an increase in coarse cereals production or wheat and pulses output is more than our expectation, then we can surpass the record production of 2008-09," Basu said.
The country's foodgrains production dropped to 218.2 million tonnes in the 2009-10 crop year on account of a drought that hit almost half the country.
Basu noted that the area under wheat cultivation in the ongoing rabi season is so far 1.1 million hectares higher than the acreage sown with the crop in the previous year and the favourable weather conditions are also conducive to a record output.
With regard to pulses, Basu said the area under cultivation is also higher and production is likely to touch a record 16.5 million tonnes this crop year, although "trade is estimating that production will be 17 million tonnes".
The secretary said that higher production of pulses would reduce the country's dependence on imports to meet domestic demand. The country imports about 3.5 million tonnes every year to meet the annual domestic demand of 18-19 million tonnes.