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Cyclone not to hit local rice supplies: KV Thomas

Severe cyclone that ravaged crops in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh will not hit domestic supply of rice or its exports, food minister KV Thomas said on Monday.

The cyclonic storm ‘Phailin’ had hit east coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh on Sunday. It has left a trail of destruction in coastal areas, ravaging crops, infrastructure and flattening hundreds of houses.

Asked if rice supplies would be affected due to cyclone, Thomas said: ‘How can it be? Our production is so high. We have ample stocks that shows India’s strength.’

Rice production has grown over the years despite some parts of the country being affected by one or the other natural disaster, he told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

‘India’s rice and wheat are getting good price in the international market. There is no curb on exports,’ he added.

Rice production from this year's summer crop, which is being harvested slowly in some parts of the country, is estimated at 92.31 million tonnes. Odisha and Andhra Pradesh normally produce 18-20 million tonnes of rice.

Rice stock in the government godowns are at 19 million tonnes as of now, against the requirement of 7.2 million tonnes.

India has removed curbs on rice and wheat exports since September 2011 owing to surplus production.

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