Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar today expressed confidence that India's foodgrain production this year would be better than last year's even as rains remained scanty in UP and floods disrupted normal life in parts of Punjab and Haryana.
He said while it was true that in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and in some parts of Bihar, there had been insufficient rain, it was also true that because of heavy rain in Punjab and Haryana, there was some damage. However, India would have more production than last year, he said.
India's foodgrains production was at 234.7 million tonnes in 2008-09 and Pawar, upbeat on brighter prospects of rain, had last week said that India would have "bumper produce" this year.
Pawar said the latest sowing report showed that the area was more for rice, oilseeds, pulses, cotton, sugarcane and jute compared to last year. He added that the prospect of monsoon was "quite encouraging" as of today.
The monsoon, however, has not lived up to the expectation since the past one week, and there are worries about lower production.
He said there was definitely a gap but there would be continuity (of rainfall) after the gap and that he was not worried as this happened sometimes. A year back also there was some gap but India could produce substantially without any problem, he added.
Pawar said the meteorological department had projected 98 per cent rainfall in July and 102 per cent in August.