February 12, 2009

Potato yield to suffer 20-22 percent in West Bengal

Kolkata, Feb 11: Wheat production in the country during the current year is likely to be 78 million tonnes, the output recorded last year, after rains resumed in north India, but potato production may suffer by 20 per cent.Stating this at a CII-sponsored seminar on agri-business, the Secretary to the Department of Agriculture&Cooperation, T Nand Kumar, pointed out that in January the temperature in Punjab was higher by 2-3 degrees, but the rains in the past few days were a big boost.

A long dry spell coupled with rising temperatures in January had raised concerns over falling wheat yields in Punjab and Harayana which account for more than 90 per cent of the wheat bought by the government.

Last year, the country had bumper wheat production and higher production this year may encourage the government to consider wheat exports as it already has more than adequate stocks. The potato production in West Bengal is expected to be lower by 20-22 per cent due to late-blight disease, state agriculture minister Naren De said.

The western disturbance has prevented temperature to dip further and temperature was 2-3 degree higher than normal. De also said the state was attempting to replace 20 per cent of chemical based fertiliser to bio-fertiliser during the 11th plan period.

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