As the country enters yet another scorching summer, the Agriculture Ministry on Friday said the various Government agencies are better prepared to tackle the vagaries of the monsoons in the coming Kharif season.
“I am confident that if there is a drought, we are much better prepared. The States were caught unawares last year. This time, this should not be the case,” Agriculture Secretary P.K. Basu told reporters here on Friday. Chances are there for a normal monsoon this time, he added.
Last year, the country was affected by the worst drought in 37 years, and kharif production in as many as 317 districts was impacted badly.
Mr. Basu, who handled the crisis as the drought commissioner, said the States have been directed to take pre-emptive measures to gear up for any kind of situation that may affect crop yield.
Citing the instance of Rajasthan, where the rainfall was uneven in many parts, Mr. Basu said the States have also been asked to prepare contingency plans to provide solutions for similar situation. The overall crop production, however, was largely compensated by a better-than-expected Rabi crop, mainly with patronisation of the states, he said.
“In fact, in Rabi crop, we may have some good surprises as well,” he said hinting at higher wheat production this time than the record of 80.68 million tonnes last year.
Speaking after the conclusion of the two-day deliberation of ‘National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign’, an annual affair, Mr. Basu said States have been asked to take steps to provide quality seeds, ample fertilisers and water during the season.