With the irrigation department’s focus firm on areas that did not get adequate rainfall, the state’s agriculture sector looks all set to follow up last year’s good results with yet another promising year.
According to figures provided by the agriculture department, of the 42.70 lakh hectares of land cultivated for rice, transplantation of paddy has been made possible on 38.5 lakh hectares of land so far.
In 2013-14, West Bengal produced 153 lakh tonnes of rice with the target for 2014-15 crop year (July-June) fixed at 158 lakh tonnes.
“If no disaster takes place, we will easily cross the target,” a department official told The Indian Express.
The main reason behind the 90 per cent coverage of paddy cultivation is the adequate amount of rainfall the state has received so far.
From June 1 this year until August 18, while the sub-Himalayan region comprising north Bengal received 1,093 millimeters of rain (average figure stands at 1,356 mm), in the Gangetic region, comprising south Bengal, rainfall was 685 mm (average 760 mm).
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“It is in some 30-35 blocks in Bankura and Purulia districts (some 2.53 lakh hectares of land) where the situation is not very good as these areas did not receive adequate rain. Our minister will take a field visit and, if required, we will arrange for irrigation,” the official added.
Agriculture Minister Purnendu Bose agreed that the state has made considerable progress in agriculture. “We received more or less a good amount of rainfall this year. I am going to Bankura and Purulia on August 27 to assess the situation there. We will arrange for land irrigation in those areas that did not receive adequate rainfall,” Bose told The Indian Express.
According to officials of the department, the state government is also using some land for cultivation of ginger and onion.