'Slow start in wheat sowing not to hit production'
New Delhi: Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna on Thursday said slow start in sowing of wheat, the main rabi crop, is unlikely to affect production this year.
While sowing in rabi (winter) season starts from October, the harvesting of crops is undertaken during March-April.
"Wheat sowing started on a slow note mainly because of delayed harvest of kharif crops especially paddy. Sowing of wheat would gather pace in the coming days and production will be sufficient this year," Bahuguna said.
Harvesting of paddy has been delayed because the southwest monsoon picked up pace only during the second half of the June to September season, he said.
Till last week, the coverage of wheat was down by 22 percent to 2.18 million hectare, an official data showed.
The Secretary said there is sufficient seeds and other farm inputs like fertilisers for the farmers during the rabi season.
Asked whether wheat production could reach the last year's record 93.90 million tonnes, he said: "Last year was an exceptional year. I am confident of good production sufficient to meet domestic demand and supply and some surplus."
The Agriculture Ministry has kept the wheat production target at 86 million tonnes for the current year.
Besides wheat, oilseeds, pulses and some coarse cereals are other crops sown during the rabi season.