Winter rain to boost production of wheat and coarse cereals: Pawar

Rains in north India are expected to help winter crops such as wheat and coarse cereals, which is likely to boost the country's foodgrain production to 250 million tonne during 2012 -13, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Wednesday.

"Rains during the last few days will help some rabi crops, though they may have an adverse impact on production of oilseeds," Pawar said.

There were reports of moderate to heavy rains in Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday.

Foodgrain production was reported at an all-time high of 257.44 million tonne in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June) on the back of record output of wheat and rice.

The sowing of rabi or winter crops has picked up pace in the last few weeks. As per data released by ministry of agriculture last week, rabi crops such as wheat, coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds have been sown on more than 60.2 million hectare against 60.8 million hectare during the same period last year. This is a decline of 3.3% from the previous year.

Area under wheat, the key rabi or winter crop, has gone up to 29.76 million hectare in comparison to the normal sowing pattern of 28.53 million hectare during the same time of the year.

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