India sees better grain output in 2012/13 vs 2009/10

NEW DELHI Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:50am IST

NEW DELHI Aug 16 (Reuters) - India, facing its second drought in just four years, expects food grain output in the 2012/13 (July-June) crop year to be better than 2009/10, Junior Farm Minister Harish Rawat said on Thursday.

"We are expecting better food grain production this year as the drought area is less this year compared to 2009/10 and as we are better prepared. We have already put in place contingency plan for drought-hit areas," Rawat said.

The country previously witnessed drought in 2009 when the it had to import sugar, pushing global prices to 30-year highs.

India's monsoon rains were 1 percent below average in the week to Aug. 8, the weather office said last week, as drought continues to hit the west of the major producer and consumer of grains, rice and sugar this season. (Reporting by Ratnajyoti Dutta; editing by Malini Menon)