The government on Thursday allayed fears of a possible drought in the wake of a delayed monsoon, and assured that the country’s foodgrain production would not be less than last year.
“A slight delay in the rainfall in central and southern parts of the country should not be viewed in any way as a year of drought,” Union Agriculture Secretary T Nanda Kumar said after a meeting to review the status of monsoon and sowing of crops with officials of nine states.
Kumar said the peak sowing season for Kharif crops begins by the end of June, and the “rainfall was beginning to show positive signs in some parts of the country.” He said there was no cause for panic yet, and the government would be worried “if the rainfall was still deficient by July-end.”
“Since the prediction for July and August is more or less normal in the south and central states, we expect a good production in the current year,” Kumar said.
“Last year the month of July had about 17 per cent less rainfall, but still the country recorded almost the food grain production level of 230 million tones. We are confident to touch that mark this year too,” the Agriculture Secretary said.
The meeting discussed the availability of water in the reservoirs and it was felt that the water level would go up once the monsoon arrives and water would be available to farmers for irrigation.