Deficit in kharif sowing widens to 24 per cent from 8 per cent in a week

Prabhudatta Mishra | | Updated on: Jun 24, 2022
The sowing area under paddy, the main kharif cereal, is down by 45.6 per cent at 19.59 lh

The sowing area under paddy, the main kharif cereal, is down by 45.6 per cent at 19.59 lh | Photo Credit: P.R. SURESH

Coverage of all crucial crops, barring sugarcane and sunflower, down

With sowing of crops being significantly lower in Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan, the overall area under kharif crops is down by 23.8 per cent as of June 24 compared with the same period a year ago. On June 17, the overall area was eight per cent lower. However, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and some other States in the North-East have reported a higher acreage.

The total area under kharif crops, as of June 24, has declined to 140.52 lakh hectares (lh) as against 184.44 lh in the corresponding period a year ago. Barring sugarcane and sunflower, all other crops have reported a drop in acreage.

From positive to negative

Though higher acreage was reported from Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh until last week, all these States have now reported a drop.

The sowing area under paddy, the main kharif cereal, is down by 45.6 per cent at 19.59 lh. Though it is 22,000 hectares higher in Haryana, all other major growing States have reported either a drop or flat acreage from the year-ago period, according to the weekly update of the Agriculture Ministry.

In cotton, the acreage has declined 14.8 per cent to 31.83 lh until Friday from 37.34 lh a year ago. Gujarat, the largest producer of the fibre, has reported coverage of 5.89 lh as against 3.52 lh in the year-ago period, while second-biggest producer Maharashtra reported it at 4.53 lh (8.67 lh), Haryana 6.5 lh (6.75 lh), Rajasthan 5.38 lh (5.28 lh), Telangana 3.57 lh (6 lh), Punjab 2.48 lh (2.54 lh), Madhya Pradesh 1.65 lh (2.91 lk) and Karnataka 1.23 lh (1.21 lh).

Rajasthan moong area down

The pulses acreage has declined by 36.1 per cent to 8.7 lh, while oilseeds sowing dropped by 47.5 per cent to 11.78 lh. The area under coarse cereals has fallen by 38.7 per cent to 11.08 lh and that of jute and mesta by 0.3 per cent to 6.8 lh. Sugarcane acreage is up 1.2 per cent at 50.74 lh.

Among the pulses, tur has been sown in 2.35 lh against 5.21 lh in the year-ago period, moong at 3.38 lh (5.13 lh) and urad in 93,000 hectares (1.94 lh). Moong in Rajasthan is down by 64 per cent, while in Karnataka it is up by 2,000 hectares.

In oilseeds, the area under sunflower has increased by 61 per cent to 0.75 lh from 0.47 lh, mainly due to the largest-grower Karnataka reporting an increase of 28,500 hectares to 0.73 lh so far this year. Groundnut sowing has been reported in 7.62 lh against 8.72 lh a year-ago and soyabean in 2.78 lh, down from 12.5 lh.

Rainfall deficit narrows

“There is no cause to worry as last year, the monsoon reached early in Madhya Pradesh, the largest grower of soyabean. The acreage will not be less than last year, even if there has been a decline in prices recently. Prices are still above the minimum support price,” said D N Pathak, executive director of Soybean Processors Association (SOPA). The western region of Madhya Pradesh, the main soyabean belt, has received normal rainfall during June 1-24, official data show.

Maize acreage has reached 8.13 lh against 11.98 lh (down 32 per cent), bajra acreage at 1.27 lh against 3.99 lh (down 68 per cent), jowar 0.60 lh against 1.01 lh (41 per cent lower) and ragi at 0.03 lh against 0.07 lh in the year-ago period.

Meanwhile, the rainfall deficit in the current monsoon season (June-September) has narrowed down to 4 per cent as of June 24 against 18 per cent as of June 17. According to Indian Meteorological Department(IMD) data, the country as a whole received 115.2 mm of rainfall during June 1-24 against 119.9 mm, which is considered normal for the period. As many as 19 States and Union Territories have received normal or higher rainfall, while 17 others are deficient. Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi have reported 61-75 per cent rainfall deficit.

Storage level higher than 10-year average

Out of 703 districts across the country, 369 are either deficient or largely deficient. As per IMD norms, any district having more than 60 per cent below normal rain is categorised as “largely deficient” and if the deficit is between 20 per cent and 59 per cent it is ‘deficient’. Upto 20 per cent below-average rainfall in a district is considered ‘normal’. The criteria vary when calculated at the all-India level.

“Easterly winds, which are responsible for bridging monsoon rains, have been completely absent so far in June. We are witnessing south-westerly winds, which have taken rains from Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand to North-East India. We are not expecting easterly winds for the next 4-5 days as well which is a cause of worry for the northern region,” said R K Jenamani, a senior scientist of India Meteorological Department (IMD).

According to Central Water Commission, the water level in country’s 143 reservoirs as on June 23 was 28 per cent of their combined storage capacity of 177.46 billion cubic meter (BCM), whereas the last 10 years’ average on the date was 22 per cent.

Published on June 24, 2022
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