Agriculture Minister predicts 263.3 million grain production this year

India is likely to produce a record 263.3 million tonnes of foodgrains this year, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said on Sunday.

At the inaugural ceremony of ‘Krishi Vasant,’ an agriculture exposition, here, he said:

“India has witnessed a record grain production this year and emerged as the largest producer of rice and the second largest producer of wheat in the world. This year’s grain production is likely to increase by four million tonnes, breaking the two-year-old record of 259 million tonnes.”

He said India emerged as the largest rice exporter and the second largest wheat exporter.

President Pranab Mukherjee, who inaugurated the exposition, lauded Mr. Pawar for “stirring the Agriculture Ministry” during his 10 years at the helm and achieving a record grain production. “There was a time when India depended on other countries for foodgrains, but tremendous progress of the last 10 years has made us self-sufficient.” Mr. Pawar had given “a new direction” to agriculture.

Calling for collaboration between industry and agriculture to enhance farm growth, Mr. Mukherjee said that improving farmers’ access to markets was vital to cut farm wastage, curb inflation and boost income.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, President Pranab Mukharjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Union Heavy industries Minister Praful Patel at the inauguration of an agriculture exposition in Nagpur on Sunday.