The Government on Thursday tied its hopes to forecasts of good rainfall in July-August for maintaining last year's farm production level, while discounting fears of a drought.
"We need to watch the rainfall in July-August carefully and if it is well distributed in time and space without too many dry spells in between, we will still be able to achieve the agricultural production that we achieved last year," Agriculture Secretary T Nanda Kumar told reporters in New Delhi.
He met with farm secretaries of states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh to discuss strategy. About 60 per cent of the total cultivable area of 140 million hectares is rain fed, but monsoon has stopped in its tracks over Konkan region of Maharashtra on June 7, although it arrived earlier than usual on May 23. There were fears that a poor monsoon could hit the economy, which is already suffering from the global slowdown.
"A slight delay in the rainfall in the central and southern parts of the country should not be viewed in any way as an year of drought," Nanda Kumar said, but added states were asked to keep contingency plans ready. He noted that in normal years, the country receives 62 per cent of the rain in July-August and only 16 per cent in June and therefore there is no cause for worry at this moment. The rest of the rainfall is received in September.