Rice, oilseeds area still down

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Our Bureau

Chennai, Aug 22

SOWING in rice, oilseeds, and coarse cereals continues to lag behind despite the area under all kharif crops rising this year compared to the corresponding period a year back. The overall coverage of crops is up as the area under sugarcane, cotton, jute, and pulses has increased.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the area under rice is down mainly on lower coverage in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh.

Sowing in cotton has increased to 81.33 lakh hectares (lh) from 78.66 lh last year on increase in its coverage in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab.

The coverage of almost all major coarse cereals - maize, bajra and jowar - has declined, with the dip being reported from Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Bihar.

The area under jowar has declined 0.41 lh to 39.37 lh. Maize coverage is down to 69.91 lh (72.69 lh) and that of bajra to 87.28 lh (89.73 lh).

With Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat reporting a rise in coverage, sugarcane sowing has increased 3.96 lh to 41.49 lh.

The area under three major oilseeds - soyabean, groundnut, and sunflower - has declined. While groundnut coverage has slid to 52.50 lh (54.77 lh), that of soyabean has dipped to 75.87 lh (77.61 lh). Sunflower area is down to 6.42 lh (7.2 lh).

Barring Rajasthan and Maharashtra, all other oilseeds growing States have witnessed decline in the coverage.

Pulses coverage has improved 13.28 lh to 96.58 lh, with sowing in arhar rising to 32.15 lh (31.54 lh).

Storage level up 59 pc: The water storage level in the 76 major reservoirs in the country has increased to 88.40 billion cubic metres (BCM), up 32.70 BCM over last year.

It is also 44 per cent higher than the average storage level during the last 10 years. The current storage level is 66 per cent of the full reservoir level of 133.02 BCM.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 23, 2005)
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