Pawar allays fears of crop failure

Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar today  said that though the delay in the south-west monsoon has affected sowing of some crops in some parts of the country, there is likelihood of the monsoon picking up in July-August and consequent pick up in kharif sowing.

The sowing time for rice, pulses, oilseeds and cotton is still left and these crops can be sown once the rainfall has normalised, Pawar said.

"Monsoon is delayed but the situation is not that serious. It is true that overall delay of monsoon is by two weeks. Up to July 2, the country has a whole has deficiency 31 per cent. But rainfall is expected to be better from next week onwards," he added.
 Briefing the media after reviewing monsoon, water storage and crop-sowing situation in the country,  he said the agriculture ministry is in constant touch with the states and the government is fully prepared "to meet any rainfall situation".

He said the states have prepared contingency plans and they will ensure availability of seed of alternative crops / varieties to implement these plans in the event of further delay in monsoon rains.

Pawar added that rice had been sown in 3.96 million hectare, which is comparable to the normal area of sowing at this time the year but lower by 0.19 million hectare than last year. He said as of now there had been wide-spread rains in the north eastern and eastern states, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and this would help in increasing transplantation of rice.

The wide spread deficiency of rains in central and western India has affected the sowing of coarse cereals, particularly maize, bajra and jowar. Upto1.04 million hectare has been planted against 2.47 million hectare normal area.