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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Bumper kharif crop expected

Zia Haq, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 19, 2010
First Published: 00:33 IST(19/10/2010) | Last Updated: 00:35 IST(19/10/2010)

A plentiful monsoon, higher minimum support prices (MSPs) and a special pulses project have encouraged a turn-around in the farm sector hammered by last year's drought, the worst in 30 years.

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India's ongoing kharif or summer-sown harvests are  poised for a quantum jump, as areas under major crops have gone up by 65 per cent, farm ministry figures show.

Two-thirds of Indians depend on farm income and a bumper crop will increase food supplies, help steady prices and boost rural consumer spending, which accounts for more than half of domestic consumption.

On October 1, the total area under summer rice stood at 35 million hectares, 20.87 per cent more than last year's. However, it is still below 2008 levels by 30 per cent, mainly due to a drought in eastern states and mid-summer floods in northern states.

The area under pulses is 19 per cent more than last year's due to a major pulses initiative in 60,000 villages worth Rs300 crore. Total coarse cereals area has gone by 6 per cent.

The area under cane is up by 8.58 per cent. However, the country is unlikely to see any significant rise in edible oils, the sown area for which is just 0.83 per cent more.

The acreage of total food grains is a whopping 46 per cent, while the acreage of 10 major summer crops is up by 64.97 per cent.

The hike in the MSP for sugar and lentils, a key policy move aimed at boosting production of the two scarce commodities, has aided healthy acreages.

Support prices for at least two varieties of pulses — tur and urad — was up by over 5 per cent and the sugar MSP, now called the fair and remunerative price (FRP), went up 8.5 per cent from Rs129.84 to Rs. 140.

MSP is the assured price the government offers farmers.

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