Bolstered by a record production of wheat and rice this year, foodgrains output in 2011-12 is set to touch an all-time high of 250.42 million tonnes, surpassing last year's best of 244.78 million tonnes.

Significant rise in paddy production in the eastern belt has boosted the overall foodgrains situation this year despite slight shortfall in coarse cereals and pulses production. Overall, good monsoon too helped the situation.

“About 12-13 million tonnes more of rice has come from the eastern belt alone and, as a result, the overall foodgrains output is estimated at a record 250.42 million tonnes,” Union Agriculture Secretary P. K. Basu told journalists here on Friday after the release of the second advance estimates. Mr. Basu pointed out that “Bihar and Jharkhand, known as laggard states in farm production and productivity, had outperformed in paddy yields.”

Rice output in Bihar has more than doubled to 6.75 million tonnes from 3.10 million tonnes. It has trebled in Jharkhand to 3.3 million tonnes from 1.11 million tonnes last year. West Bengal also has shown a significant improvement in rice output.

Rice and wheat production are expected to set new records this crop year (July to June). Rice output is projected at 102.75 million tonnes against 95.98 million tonnes last year.

Helped by winter rains, wheat production is set for an all-time record of 88.31 million tonnes as compared to 86.87 million tonnes. However, the output of pulses is expected to be slightly lower at 17.28 million tonnes as also of oilseeds at 30.53 million tonnes due to diversification of significant area to cotton in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan, Mr. Basu said. The output of coarse cereals is expected to be lower at 42.08 million tonnes against 43.68 million tonnes in 2010-11.

Cotton production has increased to 34.09 million bales from 33 million bales of 170 kg each last year.

Sugarcane output is expected to be higher than last year at 347.87 million tonnes against 342.38 million tonnes.

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