Expecting bumper crop to revive economy: Pawar

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Expecting a bumper crop due to good monsoon this year, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said the increased production "will give a boost to the reviving economy".

Speaking to CNN-IBN channel, Pawar said: "This year ... I am expecting bumper crop... I am sure the situation will substantially improve and that itself will give boost to the reviving economy."

Till July 26, the total area where crops had been sowed was 747 lakh hectare as against last year's 680 lakh hectares.

"So, additional (sowing) area has come and that is because of good monsoon. Farmers are happy, they are enthusiastic," he said.

"Last year, the monsoon was not very favourable. There were some states where there was a drought. In certain areas there was damage to crops because of excessive rain. But this year, by and large throughout India, rain situation is extremely good," he said.

Admitting that the government was concerned about the fall in the country's growth rate, Pawar said that achieving a growth rate of at least 8 percent was a must.

"(Five) percent (growth) itself is also not bad but our requirement is about at least 8 percent," he said, adding achieving a steady growth rate of 8-9 percent was a major accomplishment of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

The minister said he was proud India had become the biggest exporter of rice in the world and had shown substantial improvement in the production of cotton, wheat, vegetables and fruits.

"Few years back we were importing cotton. Today, we are the second largest exporter of cotton in the world.

"In last two to three years, we are continuously producing more than 250 million tonnes (of food) which is much more than country's requirement. We have started exporting also," he added.

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