New Delhi, Oct 13: Wheat production is expected to cross 86 million tonnes to set a new record in the ongoing 2011-12 crop year, boosted by a good monsoon and a likely rise in support prices, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said today.
Wheat production in India, the world's second-largest producer, stood at a record 85.93 million tonnes in the 2010-11 crop year (July-June). Wheat is only grown in the rabi season (winter).
“Indications are that rabi sowing will be good, particularly of wheat. As of now, it looks that wheat production will exceed 86 million tonnes,” Pawar told PTI in an interview.
He noted that the good monsoon has boosted soil moisture and water levels in reservoirs and this would lead to a rise in production.
Pawar further said that a possible hike in the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat will encourage farmers to increase the area under the crop.
Cabinet may soon decide on raising the MSP of rabi crops, including wheat, in the next few days, he said.
The wheat MSP stood at Rs 1,170 per quintal for the 2011-12 marketing year (April-March). The government buys wheat from farmers at the MSP.
Expressing similar views, Agriculture Secretary P K Basu had recently said that wheat output of 86 million tonnes could be easily achieved if there is no rust disease and terminal heat.
Wheat crop prospects are expected to be encouraging as reports say there would be abundant sunshine and no pest menace in wheat fields during the rabi season, he had said.
Farmers are preparing their fields to sow wheat, the main rabi crop. Planting would first begin in Madhya Pradesh and later in other key growing states like Punjab and Haryana.
Wheat, mustard, gram, peas and barley are some important crops cultivated during the rabi season. PTI