Chennai, Nov. 13
A BETTER water storage level in the country has helped timely sowing of rabi crop with oilseeds and pulses acreage showing promise of increasing.
According to an Agriculture Ministry statement, currently, the water level is 37 per cent more than the corresponding period last year. And taking into consideration the storage level in the last 10 years, the current level is the highest.
The storage level as on November 3 was 109.54 billion cubic metres (BCM) in the 76 major reservoirs in the country, up 27.70 BCM compared with last year. It is also higher by 18.79 BCM compared to the last 10 years' average.
No reservoir this year has zero storage, though the level in four reservoirs is only 30 per cent of the designed storage level. With rains lashing South India during the first week this month, the total storage level is likely to go up.
The rains, in a way, have affected groundnut sowing in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. According to the Ministry, area under groundnut is down to 4.31 lakh hectares (lh) against five lh during the corresponding period last year. Coverage in Tamil Nadu is down 17 per cent or about 80,000 hectares.
Acreage under safflower is also down 86,000 hectares to 1.35 lh, while linseed coverage is down 65,000 hectares to 98,000 hectares. On the other hand, the area under rapeseed, the major rabi oilseed crop, is up 1.39 lh to 32.92 lh. Sunflower and sesame coverage is also showing an increase.
Rabi pulses crop up to now has registered an increase of 3.97 lh compared with the same period last year. Till now, 16.19 lh have been covered with area under gram rising 3.67 lh to 11.28 lh.
Meanwhile, the final figures of kharif sowing show a decline in the coverage of oilseeds, coarse cereals and cotton. On the other hand, the area under rice, pulses, sugarcane and jute has increased.
Coverage of kharif rice has increased by 16.47 lh to 371.33 lh, while that of coarse cereals declined 5.55 lh to 219.39. While area under maize/corn has increased by over three lh, that of bajra and jowar has declined by 8.57 lh and 1.28 lh respectively.
Sowing of oilseeds has witnessed 4.73 lh decline with coverage of groundnut (-1.82 lh), soyabean (-2.50 lh), sesamum (-1.29 lh) and niger (-72,000 hectares) decreasing.
Kharif pulses acreage has improved by 1.53 lh, while that of sugarcane by 3.87 lh.