Gargi Parsai

NEW DELHI: The Agriculture Ministry pegged the wheat production estimates at 73 to 74 million tonnes at the present condition of the standing crop. There is no pronouncement of the procurement target but the government agencies are expected to collect about 120 to 130 lakh tonnes for the central pool against 92 lakh tonnes last year.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar reviewed the rabi crop situation on Thursday with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Indian Council of Agriculture Research and the Meteorological Department.

The Minister directed that the State governments be asked to ensure uninterrupted power supply in the wheat-growing States. Speculation is rife on wheat production this rabi season, on the heels of a bad season last year, when the country had to import 55 lakh tonnes for the Public Distribution System.

Setting aside fears of the sudden rise in temperatures, experts said that the rainfall in parts of north India had brought down temperatures, which augured well for the wheat crop.

If the temperatures remained cool then wheat output was expected to be around 73 to 74 million tonnes. For now, there was no talk of further import of wheat, sources said.

Speaking to The Hindu from a village in western Uttar Pradesh, a progressive farmer said the recent spell of rain had done the wheat crop good. "It is coming up very well and we are keeping our fingers crossed..."