Officials said that with the southwest monsoon becoming active again over several oilseeds, pulses, coarse cereals and cotton growing regions of central, west and north India, sowing is bound to pick up. Till July 5, the southwest monsoon is around 7 per cent less than the normal.
The southwest monsoon covered the entire country by the end of June, more than a fortnight before its scheduled coverage data. But out of the 653 districts for which data is available, the southwest monsoon was deficient in 40 per cent of them till July 4. Monsoon was normal in the remaining districts.
The monsoon which has been forecast to be normal this year just like in 2017, went for an elongated break starting June 13, after making a promising start in June. This lull pulled down sowing.
However, with the rains reviving from June end, the shortfall might be bridged as the sowing window is still wide open for most crops.
Among major crops, cotton sowing has been hit the most, with data showing that its acreage is around 24 per cent less than last year. Pulses has been planted in around 19.36 per cent less area compared to last year, while oilseeds and coarse cereals’ acreage are also 13.4 per cent less than last year.
For rice, which is the main foodgrain grown during the kharif season, the area covered till July 5 is around 15 per cent less than last year.
This is because the monsoon was delayed in parts of eastern India.
Earlier this week, the central government sharply raised the minimum support price (MSP) for kharif crops of which paddy and cotton were among the top gainers.
Experts said this should act as an added incentive to farmers to boost sowing. However, more than the MSP, it is the monsoon which determines farmers’ sowing preferences.