India is on course for a bumper harvest in 2019-20 unless weather plays spoilsport during final harvest stage as the latest data shows that acreage under rabi food grains has risen to multi-year highs of 64.13 million hectares, up 5.07 million hectares from the same period last year and even more than the average acreage of last five years.
This could further aggravate the precarious stock position which as on January 1, 2020 rose to a record high of over 75 million tonnes. This comes at a time when cereals are seeing a uptick in prices pushing the food inflation further and one reason is slow liquidation of inventories from state warehouses.
Inflation in food items reached a seven year six year high of 14.12 per cent in December. Data from the Agriculture Ministry shows that among main rabi crops, wheat acreage has touched a record 33.02 million hectares as on Jan 16, 2020, which is not only 3.32 million hectares more than last year, but 8 per cent more than the average acreage for the entire season in the last five years.
Officials said that with sowing of most rabi coming to a close, there might not be a big jump in acreage from here onwards, which means that the 2019-20 rabi season will perhaps be the best in the last few years in terms of area covered.
Among other crops, till Friday, pulses have been sown in around 15.73 million hectares, which is 52 per cent more than that for the same period last year and over 1.1 million hectares more than the average of the last five years.
Among pulses, the acreage of chana which is the biggest grown during the rabi season and one of the main crops in overall pulses basket has been sown in around 10.53 million hectares, which is 0.99 million hectares more than last year and 1.18 million hectares more than the average acreage of last five years.
Oilseeds have been sown in around 7.92 million hectares, which is marginally more than last year. India’s rabi sowing has reached new records this year on the back of strong post-monsoon showers which have ensured adequate soil moisture reducing farmers’ expenditure on irrigation in mainly rainfed areas.
Data sourced from the weather office shows that post monsoon rains from October onwards have been significantly higher this year than previous years.