India on course for bumper harvest, Rabi sowing scales multi-year high

India is on course for a bumper harvest in 2019-20, unless weather plays spoilsport during final harvest stage, as the latest data shows that acreage under rabi foodgrains has risen to multi-year highs of 64.13 million hectares (ha), up 5.07 million ha from the corresponding period last year. It is even more than the average acreage of the past five years.

Data from the agriculture ministry shows that among the main rabi crops, wheat acreage touched a record 33.02 million ha as on January 16, 2020. This is not only 3.32 million ha more than last year, but 8 per cent more than the average acreage for the entire season in the past five years.

Officials said with most of rabi sowing coming to a close there might not be a big jump in acreage from here on, which means that the 2019-20 rabi season will perhaps be the best in the last few years in terms of area covered.

Source: Ministry of Agriculture

Among other crops, till Friday, pulses have been sown in around 15.73 million ha, which is 52 per cent more than the same period last year, and over 1.1 million ha more than the average of the past five years.

Among pulses, the acreage of chana, the biggest pulse grown during the rabi season and one of the main crop in overall pulses basket, has been sown in around 10.53 million ha, which is 0.99 million ha more than last year, and 1.18 million hectares more than average acreage of the past five years for the entire season.

Oilseeds have been sown in around 7.92 million ha, which is marginally more than last year.

The reason for these records this year is the strong post-monsoon showers that have ensured adequate soil moisture, reducing farmers’ expenditure on irrigation in mainly rainfed areas.

Data sourced from the Indian Meteorological Department shows that post-monsoon rains from October have been significantly higher this year than previous years.

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