Sowing of pulses, after an initial fall, had risen 23 per cent as of Friday, year-on-year, as the southwest monsoon’s spread brought more areas under kharif cultivation.
As much as 4.41 million hectares (mn ha) was under cultivation, against 3.59 mn ha in the corresponding period of the previous year. There were earlier apprehensions that sowing of pulses would fall this year due to farmer protests over subdued prices.
Overall, sowing of kharif crops was up almost nine per cent at 40.4 mn ha as on Friday, against 37.12 mn ha a year ago. The area under paddy went up six per cent to nearly eight mn ha.
Kharif sowing normally begins with the southwest monsoon's onset and picks up pace from July. Paddy, tur (red gram), moong (green gram), urad (black gram), soybean, sunflower seed and cotton are the main crops.
The area under coarse cereals stood at 8.08 mn ha, from 7.01 mn earlier. Oilseeds was sown on 7.28 mn ha, from 6.97 mn.
Among cash crops, sugarcane has been sown on 4.79 mn ha so far, as against 4.52 mn in the year-ago period. Cotton's rose to 7.18 mn ha, from 6.79 mn. Jute was down to 695,000 ha, from 727,000 ha.
With monsoon rain expected to be normal this year, the government is targeting another bumper foodgrain and horticulture crop for 2017-18. June saw almost four per cent excess rain; this had risen to five per cent as of mid-week, making the initial days of the four-month season among the best in recent years.
On a cumulative basis, the southwest monsoon in June was 52 per cent more than the normal over the northwest, five per cent more than normal over central India, eight per cent excess over peninsular India but 18 per cent less than normal over east and northeast India.