Amid the coronavirus lockdown, the Haryana government is hoping for a good production of wheat despite inclement weather conditions in the past couple of weeks.
“The crop is good this year inspite of untimely rainfall and hailstorm,” Haryana Additional Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal told The Indian Express on Friday. According to Kaushal, the government has estimated wheat production of 120 lakh metric tonnes (MT). In the last three years, wheat production has been a little over 120 lakh MT, while it was 113.50 MT in 2016. This year, officials are expecting a per hectare yield of a little above that of 2016, but lesser than in the last three years.
The government had pegged wheat production target at 132.71 lakh MT for this year, which may not be achieved because of adverse weather conditions during the season. “We always keep the target on the higher side like we expect marks from our children in their exams. The target is a rough estimate which is set expecting 10 per cent hike from previous year’s production,” says Jagraj Dhandi, joint director, Haryana Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department.
Punjab and Haryana are considered the food bowl of the country. They are the largest contributors of wheat, about 70 %, to the central pool that is used for public distribution and other welfare schemes of the government.
Apart from heavy rains and hailstorms, the strong waves coupled with storm had flattened the wheat crop in several parts of the state. Government officials did an assessment of crop loss. However, Dhandi says the wheat crop got considerable time to almost revive from the setbacks it suffered in the past couple of weeks. “That’s why we are expecting a good crop this year too. After rains, the weather did not turn hot immediately. Because of cold weather for long, wheat crop fruits got enough time to mature. This helped recover the losses,” said Dhandi.
However, the officer said the mustard crop may witness a loss of around 10 per cent this year. According to officials, as much as 90 per cent of the total mustard crop has been harvested in the state while wheat is ready to be harvested.
The government has delayed wheat and mustard procurement this year, keeping in view the countrywide lockdown aimed to halt the spread of coronavirus. Officials admit that the wheat procurement, which will take place from April 20, will be a tough task for the government machinery because of the huge quantity that will arrive in the state mandis.
The state had recorded the highest wheat procurement in 2018, when more than 87 lakh MT was bought into the state mandis. The bumper crop was the result of favourable climatic conditions that year.
To ensure smooth wheat procurement this year, the government has announced an incentive of Rs 125 per quintal to farmers who would bring their produce to the mandis in June. “I have planned to keep my produce till June as I will be able to meet my labour expenditure with this incentive,” said Suresh Kumar, a farmer from Gorakhpur village.
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