With rain deficit topping 10 per cent from June 1 till Friday in the current monsoon season, the coverage of kharif crops dropped further by 1.76 per cent cent compared with the corresponding period a year ago. Farmers have so far planted on 1,064 lakh hectares (lh) against 1,083 lh in the same period a year ago. Last week, this gap in acreage was 1.56 per cent.

The area under rice, oilseeds, cotton and coarse cereals has dropped, while sowing of pulses and sugarcane are up. Among oilseeds, the coverage of soyabean has increased but that of groundnut and sesame is down. Maize area is up in the coarse cereals basket, but coverage of other grains has declined. In the pulses section, the area under arhar has increased, while urad acreage is almost unchanged but that of moong is down.

Deficiency in N-W

The drop in acreage is mainly on account of over 50 per cent deficient rainfall in Gujarat, particularly the Saurashtra region, while in western Rajasthan the deficit is 22 per cent. Despite the 10 per cent deficient rainfall, kharif sowing has managed to keep pace with normal acreage as the distribution of the monsoon has been good. Lack of sufficient rainfall in north-western parts has resulted in cotton being the most affected. Its acreage is lower by 8.5 per cent year-on-year (YoY). Area under cotton is down to 117 lh (128 lh).



Rice area edges down

According to data released by the Agriculture Ministry, rice has been planted on 389 lh against 393 lh in the same period last kharif season. Uttar Pradesh with over 60 lh, West Bengal with 41 lh and Chhattisgarh with nearly 37 lh have recorded a rise in acreage under rice, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. While most States more or less maintained their acreage compared with last year the previous kharif season, there is a drop in planting in Chhattisgarh and an and an increased in Madhya Pradesh.

At nearly 136 lh, the area under pulses is marginally higher YoY. Arhar has been planted on over 49 lh ( as compared with 47 lh). This YoYnot only accounted for the rise is increase but even covered for nearly two per cent drop in moong cultivation.

A marginal one per cent increase in soyabean area at 121.5 lh has not been able to compensate for the drop in groundnut acreage and as a result the oilseeds area is 1.5 per cent less at 189.5 lh. The area under coarse cereals, too, is down by 1.6 per cent as compared with the same week a year ago at 169 lh.

Storage levels down

Water storage in 130 reservoirs monitored by Central Water Commission is 108.58 billion cubic metre (BCM) compared with 130.63 BCM during the same period a year ago.