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Not overly worried about bad monsoon: Agricultural secretary

Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday said it was not "overly worried" about a bad monsoon affecting crop production.

New Delhi: Amid states like Maharasthra and Gujarat facing drought, the Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday said it was not "overly worried" about a bad monsoon affecting crop production as the country has become resilient to the vagaries of nature.

"Weather plays a role but over time we have become slightly resilient to weather. So, I am not overly worried about bad weather (monsoon)," Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna told reporters here.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) is expected to release the monsoon forecast for this year by the next week. Meanwhile, weather analytics firm Skymet has projected south- west monsoon to be adequate and well distributed.

On the progress of sugarcane sowing, Bahuguna said that acreage in Maharasthra, the country`s second biggest sugarcane growing state, is expected to be lower because of drought.

"Drought situation in Maharashtra is really bad. Area under sugarcane in Maharasthra is obviously going to be down. Cane area is mainly irrigated. Dams in some parts of the state are dry and sowing will all depend on monsoon," he said.

He said there should be some shift in area under sugarcane to other short-duration and drought-resistant crops.

On cotton sowing, he said the planting has been delayed due to late harvest. "Sowing will start in next two weeks in north India, especially Punjab and Haryana," he added.

Sugarcane and cotton sowing begins before monsoon, while planting of other kharif crops like paddy starts with the onset of south-west monsoon in June.


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