Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday said there has not been any effect seen so far on the wheat crop due to high temperatures and it will be too early to say about the likely impact.
On whether there has been any adverse impact seen in the wheat crop as harvesting has started in some states like Madhya Pradesh, Mr Tomar said, “Weather-related challenges are always there in front of agriculture.” “Lekin main samjhta hoon ki abhi koi aisi stithi nahi hai. Koi prabhav pada hai, aisa kahna jaldbazi hogi (But I think, there is no such situation as of now. It will be too early to say that there has been any impact),” the minister told reporters.
Mr Tomar was speaking on the sidelines of an event organised here by Plant Based Food Industry Association (PBFIA).
Wheat is a major rabi (winter-sown) crop.
On February 20, the government formed a committee to monitor the situation arising out of any unusual rise in temperature and its impact on the wheat crop, and also to issue necessary advisories to the farming community to save the crop.
The decision to form a committee was taken as some parts of the country witnessed above-normal temperatures.
India’s wheat production fell to 107.74 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) from 109.59 million tonnes in the previous year due to heat waves in some key producing states.
In May last year, the Centre banned wheat exports to control rising prices, after a slight fall in domestic production and a sharp decline in the FCI’s procurement for the central pool.
The government has pegged wheat production at record 112.18 million tonnes in the 2022-23 crop year as per the second advance estimate by the agriculture ministry.
While addressing the conference, Mr Tomar said plant-based foods, along with meeting the needs of the times, will create job opportunities and boost agriculture.
He said the plant-based foods will also help in achieving nutritional security, Mr Tomar also emphasised on the need for increasing private investment in the agriculture sector, introducing new technologies and enhancing farmers’ income. He said this will also attract youth towards farming operations.
Plant-Based Food Industry Association (PBFIA) Executive Director Sanjay Sethi said the size of this industry is currently Rs 2000 crore, with soyabean based products cornering the lion’s share.
“India has the potential to become a major supplier of plant-based proteins globally. The plant-based dairy industry needs support on the nomenclature front to expand the market and enhance consumer awareness,” Mr Sethi said.
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