Considering cumulative rainfall from June to September, expected retention of moisture in soil between October and December, and recharge in the ground water level, the agriculture ministry expects no major dip in the coverage of food crops in the coming rabi season.
In the two-day national conference on agriculture, beginning Thursday at the Pusa complex of National Agriculture Science Centre, the agriculture ministry while assessing the crop prospect in the 2009-rabi season, has noted that backed by revival of monsoon in rain deficient areas in northern and central regions since August, wheat production in the rabi season is projected at 79 million tonnes (mt), slightly lower than the last season's production of 80.6 mt.
As for other rabi crops in 2009, the ministry sets the rice production target at 14.5 mt, for jowar at 3.9 mt and barley at 1.6 mt, which are almost similar to the last year's level. According to the fourth round of estimate by the ministry, rice production in the last rabi season was 14.6 mt, barley 1.5 mt and jowar 4.2 mt.
As part of its extension services to farmers, the ministry has also advised wheat farmers of Punjab and Haryana to phase out older wheat varieties like PBW-343 and PBW-502, which have become susceptible to rust diseases. Instead, they should adopt the resistant varieties like DBW-17 and PBW-550 possessing high yield potential, said the ministry. It has also advised wheat growing states to popularise cultivation of high yielding variety 'durum' wheat. The advice has been specifically given to state governments of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Punjab.
At the same time, it has asked all wheat growing states to ensure that sowing of wheat is completed by the end of November and to see that maximum areas are covered with high yielding and high temperature tolerant varieties.
To avoid any shortage in getting proper seeds for all the rabi crops, the ministry has allowed states to use truthfully labelled seeds, in case there is a scarcity in the availability of certified seeds of desired varieties for re-sowing.
Source: The Economic Times