The overall monsoon rain deficiency this season has shrunk to 1% of the long period average (LPA) or ‘normal’ on Friday, thanks to revival of rains since mid-July. However, kharif sowing still trailed by 5% as on August 9 — this was 6.6% a week ago. In fact, the deficit in paddy acreage widened to 13% from 12.5% a week ago while pulses deficit narrowed to 5% from 8%.
The total acreage under all kharif crops was at 869.55 lakh hectare as on August 9, down from 918.70 lakh hectare in the year-ago period, the Agriculture Ministry said. Paddy sowing in major producing states like West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh has been hit due to lower rain. While monsoon rains have improved substantially in Odisha and Chhattisgarh in the past few days, it may not help the overall paddy acreage to reach last year level before the end of the season. Paddy sowing window is almost over while transplanting will be on for a while.
There has been significant improvement in sowing areas under coarse cereals in the past one week as the deficit (y-o-y) has narrowed down to 1% from 6% as on August 2.
It seems the delayed rains in June and July moved farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to plant higher coarse cereals like maize, jowar and bajra, which need less water.
Meanwhile, monsoon rains so far in August have been 40% higher than the LPA due to heavy rains in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala.
Among oilseeds, the acreage of major kharif crop soyabean was marginally lower at 109.84 lakh hectare as many Maharashtra farmers shifted to cotton. However, the area in the largest producing state Madhya Pradesh is higher which will increase the production since the state has higher yield in soyabean.
The cotton area in Maharashtra was higher at 42.8 lakh hectare against 39.7 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.
“Monsoon was delayed a bit and there was some concern. The rainfall has improved now and the deficit has narrowed. The deficit in acreage will be covered as the sowing operation is progressing well,Agriculture Minister, Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar, said after launching the pension scheme for farmers.