Situation better than in 2009: agriculture secretary Ashish Bahuguna

Though the area under cultivation for rice, pulses and coarse grains had decreased from 2009, according to the government, the situation was much better than what the situation was in 2009 drought in the same period.

Agriculture secretary Ashish Bahuguna said, the situation was certainly better than in 2009 and was improving by the day with sowing picking up where it was lagging. However, states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka still remained a cause of concern, while sowing activities across the rest of the country was as per expectation he added.

Little improvement had been seen in sowing in the rice growing area and less area coverage was reported in West Bengal which had rains that were 26 per cent less than normal. The total area under rice was 191 lakh hectares, which was 0.24 lakh hectares less than  the area in 2009 and 18.25 lakh hectare less than what was in 2011. Rice made up 70 per cent of the total kharif production. In a similar case, in coarse grains, the area coverage was 117. 48 lakh hectare - down by 42 lakh hectare from 2009 and 34 lakh hectare in 2011 during the same period.

He added, this was a matter of serious concern and there was not much to worry about  for maize but bajra was drastically down.

The pulses acreage had also been badly hit which was around 20 per cent down from average area at 63 lakh hectares, which was 12.5 lakh hectare less than what was in the drought year of 2009 and around 13.6 lakh hectare less than last year.

He said there had been a major loss in area in Rajasthan and Gujarat where sowing of moong and ground nut had been hit badly due to scanty rains. The sowing of oil seeds, however, had shown improvement as the total acreage had risen to 138 lakh hectare - 7 lakh hectare more than in 2009 but a lakh hectare less than 2011 kharif in the same period.