Agri Business

Paddy sowing in Bengal set to gather pace in 2 weeks

Ayan Pramanik Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on August 13, 2013 Published on August 13, 2013






Inadequate rainfall notwithstanding, the West Bengal Government does not expect any decline in area under paddy cultivation this season.

Last year, paddy was sown on 42 lakh hectares during the kharif season.

According to State Agriculture Minister Moloy Ghatak, sowing has been delayed by nearly a month this year due to deficient rains.

However, considering the recent showers, he expects sowing to gather momentum in the next two weeks.

Deficient rainfall

“Sowing for this season will continue for another seven to 10 days. With rain lashing growing areas in the last two weeks, we expect sowing to reach last year’s level,” Ghatak told Business Line.

Reports from Regional Met Centre (RMC), Kolkata, said that the four south Bengal districts – Birbhum, Burdwan, Nadia, Hooghly – saw an average 28 per cent deficit in rainfall between June 1 and August 7.

These four districts account for 27 per cent rice acreage and nearly a third (32 per cent) of the total rice production in the State. West Bengal had produced around 14.6 million tonnes (mt) to rice across the three seasons of Aus, Aman and Boro.

According to G.C. Debnath, Director, RMC, the only time the four districts reported an increase in rainfall was in the last week of July this year.

Murshidabad and Malda – two other rice producing districts – witnessed a 51 and 26 per cent less rainfall, respectively.

Govt measures

In the early part of the season (June and July) – when transplantation of saplings take place – the State Government, according to Ghatak, had taken measures such as alternative water resources and usage of submersible pumps to help increase the acreage.

For example, in the eastern part of Burdwan, Bengal’s rice bowl, major portions of sowing area in the district were fed by release of water from DVC.

Following the late monsoon and signs of better sowing, the State might not go ahead with its plan for sowing of alternative crops such as hybrid maize, sesame, black gram (urad), etc, the minister added.

> ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

> abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 13, 2013
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