Kharif sowing may fall short of last year's level by almost 1.3 mn hectares

Rice acreage stood at 35.95 million hectare in the year-ago period
Kharif sowing continued to fall short of last year’s figure by almost 1.3 million hectares due to shift from pulses to oilseeds in some states and low acreage owing to drought in others.

With the southwest monsoon entering its last month and amount of rain expected to remain low, sowing of kharif crops is unlikely to pick up in a big way.

This would mean that acreage of some major crops may remain below last years’ level, though the actual impact on the total output will depend on the weather during the remaining few weeks. 

According to the Met department, overall monsoon distribution has been fairly good, though there have been pockets of distress which now face the prospect of drought.

These include Bihar, where the rainfall in this season so far has been 22 per cent less than normal, Jharkhand where it has been less than 28 per cent, north interior Karnataka (-21 per cent), Rayalseema (-42 per cent), Assam and Meghalaya (-34 per cent) and Saurashtra (-21 per cent).

Out of the 36 meteorological subdivisions, rainfall between June 1 and August 23 has been normal in 25 subdivisions and deficient in the remaining 11.

According to the department of agriculture, area sown under rice, the main kharif crop, is still lagging behind at 35.68 million hectares (ha) so far in the current season.

Rice acreage stood at 35.95 million hectares in the year-ago period.

Sowing of kharif crops begins with the onset of southwest monsoon from July and harvesting from October.

According to the ministry's data, shortfall in the area of most kharif crops has narrowed and sowing of all kharif crops was covered in 99.56 million hectares when compared with 100.85 million hectares in the previous year.
Besides rice, area that has sown pulses, mainly urad, arhar and moong was marginally down at 13.08 million hectares so far this season against 13.38 million hectares in the same period last season.

Coarse cereals acreage remained lower at 16.65 million hectares so far this season against 17.43 million hectares a year ago.

Cotton area, too, was lower at 11.68 million hectares against 11.96 million hectares in the said period.

However, area under oilseeds and sugarcane remained higher than the year-ago period.

Area sown to oilseeds was slightly higher at 16.7 million hectares against 16.42 million hectares, while the sugarcane area was at 5.06 million hectares against 4.98 million hectares from the previous year.

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