Kharif sowing picks up; paddy area up 6%, pulses 26%
Sowing of paddy, the main kharif crop, has gained momentum on account of good monsoon and total acreage under this crop has gone up by 6 per cent to 81.93 lakh hectares so far this year, according to the Agriculture Ministry.
There has also been a significant jump in pulses area as farmers have sown in nearly 46 lakh hectares as on today in the 2016-17 kharif season, up by 26 per cent from 36.44 lakh hectare in the mane period a year ago, it said.
According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), there was 11 per cent deficit in southwest monsoon rainfall in June. But the rainfall situation improved and the first week of July received 35 per cent higher rains.
Sowing of kharif crops begin with the onset of southwest monsoon from June and harvesting starts from October.
"Good rains in several parts of the country boosted sowing operations. The gap in sowing area has come down. The sowing situation is expected to improve further," a senior Agriculture Ministry official said.
As per the ministry's data, paddy has been sown in 81.93 lakh hectares as on today in the 2016-17 kharif season, as against 77.31 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.
Higher acreage is reported from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and other states.
Although sowing of coarse cereals, oilseeds and cotton has picked up but total acreage under these crops is still lagging behind when compared to last year's same period.
Area sown to coarse cereals is lower at 75.02 lakh hectares as against 77.80 lakh hectares, while oilseeds acreage is down at 82.28 lakh hectares when compared to 101.5 lakh hectares in the year-ago.
Among oilseeds, soyabean area is lower at 59.88 lakh hectares so far this year, as against 75.39 lakh hectares in the same period last year.
Among cash crops, area planted to cotton is down at 67.89 lakh hectares as against 87.83 lakh hectares, but sugarcane acreage is marginally higher at 45.78 lakh hectares as against 43.68 lakh hectares in the said period.
Total area sown to all kharif crops is down by 6 per cent at 406.27 lakh hectares so far this 2016-17 kharif season when compared with 431.82 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.
The southwest monsoon is critical for kharif crops as over half of India's farm land does not have assured irrigation.