India is likely to harvest a bumper foodgrain crop in the current year, despite the drought in Bihar, Jharkhand and some parts of West Bengal, Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said on Friday.
"This (2010) will be one of the best years, which will provide a bumper crop to the country," Pawar told reporters on the sidelines of a national conference here on the rabi crop season.
"2008 was one of the years, which the country got a maximum production. Though there is a setback in Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of West Bengal in paddy crop, but still this year, total paddy production will be much more than last year and it will be somewhat near or little more than 2008," he added.
The area under pulses, oilseeds, cotton, sugarcane and paddy is much more than last year and even more than in 2008, the minister said.
"Last year, the country faced a severe drought in 300 districts, which affected paddy crops. This year, the situation is altogether different and completely satisfactory," Pawar added.
"Now we are trying our level best to gear up the state machinery for the coming rabi season," he added.
"Our expectation is that the way the general monsoon situation we have seen, the reservoir position that we have assessed, this will be the most favourable year for crops like wheat and others," he said.
"Today's Bakra dam position... we have not seen in the last 30 years," he said, adding that a similar situation exists in most of the country's reservoirs and that is why the possibility of bumper rabi crop production is very bright.
"My own assessment and also the assessment of states is that this will be one of the best years, which will provide a bumper crop to the country," Pawar said.
Despite a bad monsoon last year, total foodgrains production for 2009-10 is likely to be 218 million tonnes, against the target of 239 million tonnes, the minister said.
"Considering that the monsoon has been fairly active in September, the conditions for rabi are very favourable. I will urge all states to take full advantage of these favourable conditions to ensure that we have a record rabi production," he added.
"My ministry will do its best to assist and complement your (states) efforts by making available all inputs on time," Pawar said.