No dearth of foodgrains in the country: Pawar

New Delhi: There is no problem of availability of foodgrains in the country as the government has "ample" stock of over 82 million tonnes of rice and wheat, Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said today.

"There is ample stock of foodgrains with the government. Availability of foodgrains is comfortable. There is no dearth of foodgrains in the country," Pawar told reporters while briefing about the impact of delayed monsoon on the farm sector. Due to record production and procurement last year, the government`s foodgrains stock position is comfortable at 82.3 million tonnes as against the buffer norm of 33 million tonnes as on July 1, he noted.

Pawar also said: "If time comes, the government is ready to supply additional foodgrains and at an appropriate time take a decision to enter into the open market via a scheme". The monsoon rains have been 31 per cent below average up to July 2. This has affected the sowing of coarse cereals but there is no cause for worry for the paddy crop. Monsoon rains are crucial for the country`s agriculture as only 40 per cent cultivable area is irrigated.

Giving out stock position, the minister said 50.16 million tonnes of wheat and 32.14 million tonnes of rice is available in the government godowns as on June 1, this year. The buffer norm for wheat as on July 1 is 21.2 million tonnes while for rice it is 11.8 million tonnes, Pawar added.