New Delhi, July 3 - With delayed monsoon triggering fears of crop failure and drought, the government today said the situation is not "that serious" and the production of rain-fed rice crop is unlikely to be affected as monsoon is expected to better from next week.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that 31 per cent deficit rainfall so far has impacted sowing of coarse cereals like maize, bajra and jowar, but situation is "not worrisome" in case of paddy -- a major Kharif crops.
"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 as a whole has deficiency of 31 per cent. But rainfall is expected to be better from next week onwards," he told reporters here.
Briefing media about the impact of monsoon delay on the farm sector, Pawar pointed out that the sowing operations have been affected in those states where early sowing takes place such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
"Widespread deficiency in rains in western and central India has affected coarse cereals particularly maize, bajra and jowar," he said. Pawar, however, said, "by and large, overall situation of rice is not worrisome".
Asked whether rice production will decline this year, he said: "It does not look like...the sown area is more than normal. It is quiet possible that production will be good in major rice producing states like Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh".
Monsoon rains are crucial for the country's agriculture as only 40 per cent cultivable area is irrigated. On the back of good monsoon, India produced a record 252.56 million tonnes of foodgrains in the 2011-12 crop year (July to June). Rice production stood at record 103.41 million tonnes last year, out of which 90.75 million tonnes were grown in Kharif. PTI