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    Confident that kharif sowing will be as good as last year, says Food Secretary

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    Confident that kharif sowing will be as good as last year, says Food Secretary


    In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey discussed kharif sowing, the status of food grain stocks, export curbs and procurement plans.

    The sowing of kharif crops has remained on the lower side due to the slow onset of monsoon across India. However, Sudhanshu Pandey, the Secretary  of Food & Public Distribution, is confident that the kharif sowing would be as good as last year.
    The area covered by paddy last week is 24 percent lower than the area covered this time last year. The delay in rainfall in some parts of India has also caused a decline in oilseeds acreage. Over the key sowing season which spans June and July, sowing has declined close to nine-and-a-half percent from 2021 levels, so far. The deficit in sowing has been remarkable in states such as West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar, where deficient rainfall has been recorded in numerous districts.
    “The sowing season is yet not over and our estimates are that we will be able to cover the entire sowing requirement by the time the season is over. So we have is still two-third of July left and we are quite confident that the current kharif sowing is going to be as good as last year,” Pandey told CNBC-TV18.
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    Pandey said he was quite comfortable as far the pricing of crops is concerned. "Prices of various food commodities are also showing a declining trend. We can clearly see that in respect of all major commodities be it edible oil, pulses, even rice prices are quite stable, they had risen only in a particular zone for a limited period. But now they have stabilised. Even after regulations put by government prices of wheat and wheat flour are also quite under check and they show a trend which is not rising,” he said.
    He said if the price behaviour in the country is right and export is as per the usual trend compared to the last year, then there is no need to worry. "Our production as well as procurement, as we see, is going to be adequate. So therefore, no reason to think that there are going to be additional bit of curbs on any commodity,” he said.
    Pandey also spoke about the Food Corporation of India (FCI) stocks, saying they were in good condition. "Even today we have almost 590 lakh metric tonne of stocks. In respect of rice as well as wheat they are much above the requirements of both the buffer as well as strategic reserve," he said.
    “We have almost 290 lakh metric tonne of wheat and almost we have 300 lakh metric tonne of rice. So, we have roughly about as I said, requirement, which is well above our monthly needs, and there is no reason to be worried at all,” he added.
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