New Delhi: There had been a two-week delay in the monsoon but the situation was not serious, union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said here on Tuesday and added that rainfall would pick up by next week.

"Yes, monsoon has been delayed by two weeks...but situation is not serious as it is made out to be. We expect the rainfall to pick up by next week," Pawar said.

Rains 31 percent below average

The Agriculture Minister said that the deficiency of rainfall was 31 percent till July 2.

"The Met department has told me that July and August will get good monsoon and there will be ample opportunity to cover the gap of delayed monsoon in the month of June," he said.

Early sowing affected

In some states, early sowing has been affected.

"It is true that in certain states early sowing has been affected, particularly Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar," he said.

Condition not worrisome

"There are sufficient stocks of food grain available in the country and the government is ready to supply, if the states ask for it. Government will take appropriate decision to enter the open market at an appropriate time."

Pawar also said that states were ready with their contingency plan and have been told to keep sufficient feed ready.

Stating that 2011 was the best crop production year, he said a comparison should be made with a normal year.

"The situation this year may not be fully satisfactory, but it is not sad," he said.

 

No worry for paddy

The deficient rainfall during last month has affected the sowing of coarse cereals but there is no cause for worry for the paddy crop, Pawar said.

He said the rainfall deficiency has affected sowing of coarse cereals, but situation in paddy is "not worrisome".

Till June 29 of the current Kharif season, rice was sown in 30.72 lakh hectare, coarse cereals in 10.42 lakh hectare, oilseeds in 10.77 lakh hectare and pulses 3.99 lakh hectare.

Crucial monsoon rains

Monsoon rains, crucial for the country's agriculture as only 40 per cent cultivable area is irrigated. Besides, higher agri incomes on account of good crop push up economic growth.

On the back of good monsoon last year, the country had produced record 252.56 million tonnes of foodgrain in 2011-12 crop year (July to June).

(Agencies)

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