In his first official admission regarding the adverse impact of deficient rainfall on foodgrain production,Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Monday indicated that it will be difficult for the country to repeat a record harvest of foodgrain this year because of the delayed monsoons.
This year,with monsoon playing hide and seek,it will be really a challenge to maintain the excellent performance of the last two years, Pawar said,referring to the good monsoon last year when the country witnessed a record harvest of over 252 million tonnes.
His comments hold significance in the wake of the fact that over six weeks into the monsoon the country is reeling under about 23 per cent deficient rainfall.
However,the minister sought to play down the fears of a widespread drought saying that its too early to call it a drought and suggested to wait till the middle of next month before raising alarm bells.
I do not think we have reached the drought situation yet. I will wait till second week of August. We are ready with a contingency plan for any eventuality. We have kept sufficient seeds for late sowing, Pawar said on the sidelines of the ICAR Foundation day function in New Delhi.
He admitted that the situation was particularly worrisome in Karnataka,Andhra Pradesh and central Maharashtra given the adverse impact of deficient rainfall seen on coarse cereals such as jowar and bajra.