Rice acreage crossed 300 lakh hectares (lh) as transplantation gained momentum in parts of central and North India on widespread rain. States such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand have registered higher acreage under the cereal.

The pick up in paddy transplanting has largely bridged the deficit in rice acreage that was witnessed in the early parts of the monsoon period.

Similarly, acreage under other crops such as cereals, pulses and oilseeds has gone up for the period till August 16. The shortfall in monsoon rains has largely been covered and the deficit now stands reduced to 15 per cent as against 23 per cent in mid-July. About 53 per cent of the country’s total area has received normal or excess rains, while the rest continues to be deficient and scanty.

Pulses area

Acreage under kharif pulses such as arhar (tur), urad and moong has improved during the week with Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh registering higher area. But acreage in key producing States such as Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan is still lower. Acreage under tur stood at 33.81 lakh hectares (lh) against 35 lh in the corresponding period last year. In case of urad, the acreage stood at 21.23 lh – marginally higher than last year’s 20.30 lh. But, the acreage of moong is still short by over 4 lh at 16.9 lh.

The oilseeds acreage has also been largely made up by soyabean, which has been planted by more farmers in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The soyabean acreage stood at 106.4 lh (102.2 lh), while groundnut area is less by 5 lh at 35.3 lh. Sunflower and sesamum acreage is marginally lower, while niger has been planted in a higher area. But the castor acreage stands almost halved at 3.95 lh (8.1 lh), mainly hit by poor rains in Gujarat.

Coarse cereals

The acreage under coarse cereals is short by 23.7 lh for the period largely on account of poor sowing of bajra, ragi and sorghum. However, the acreage under maize is almost on par with that of last year at close to 70 lh. The acreage under cotton stood at 110 lh, marginally short of last year’s 116.80 lh for the period. Cane acreage is higher by 2.99 lh than last year’s 52.88 lh.

Vishwanath.kulkarni@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 17, 2012)
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