NEW DELHI: Foodgrains production is pegged at record 144.52 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif season notwithstanding COVID-19 crisis, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday. Foodgrain production stood at 143.38 million tonnes during the 2019-20 kharif season, as per official data.

Currently, harvesting of kharif crops is underway. Rice is the main kharif crop.

“Foodgrain production will be better than last year. As per the initial estimates, foodgrain production is projected to be 144.52 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif season,” Tomar said addressing a digital conference organised by industry body CII.

Production of cash crops such as sugarcane and cotton is also expected to be good, he said.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a record increase in area sown to kharif crops by 4.51 per cent to 1,121.75 lakh hectares this year, he added.

Tomar said agriculture is the pillar of the Indian economy. The sector grew 3.4 per cent during the first quarter of 2020-21 fiscal even as the total economy showed a decline in the said period.

On new farm laws, the minister asserted that farmers are being “misled” about the reforms and reiterated that procurement at minimum support price as well as mandis will continue to function across the country.

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