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Friday, Jan 02, 2004

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Sustained pace in rabi sowing

M.R. Subramani

Chennai , Jan. 1

Sowing of rabi crops continues with sustained momentum with the area under wheat, pulses and oilseeds rising as compared to last year.

An Agriculture Ministry note said an active western disturbance in the climate during the third week of December led to favourable precipitation in North and north-western parts of the country.

Though the recent cyclone hit the crops in a few districts of Andhra Pradesh, it had led to precipitation in the east coast and plains. This was also beneficial to the rabi crops.

As regards wheat sowing, more than three-fourths of the normal 264 lakh hectares (lh) has been covered, according to the note. So far, 201 lh have been covered as against 188 lh last year. In Punjab and Haryana, the major wheat-growing States, over 90 per cent of the normal area under the crop has been covered. Rabi rice has also witnessed a 0.7 lh rise in coverage.

The area under coarse cereals is feared to be less than last year, while the area under pulses has increased by 25 lh. In the case of coarse cereals, area under jowar is down by five per cent. However, the area under corn is up at 6.3 lh (5 lh).

Among pulses, area under gram is reported to have increased by 20 lh. Sowing in rapeseed/mustard, the major rabi oilseed crop, has been completed in 55 lh (41lh). The area under sunflower in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh is also reported to be higher.

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