The sowing under summer paddy, which was 10 per cent higher until last week, further increased to 29.44 lakh hectares (lh) as of Friday, which is 11 per cent more than the 26.49 lh reported in the year-ago period. Despite the low reservoir levels in many States, the higher area may help the government to recover some of the ground lost in rabi season.

The summer paddy area in West Bengal was not updated this week and was reported at 10.22 lh, up from 7.87 lh until March 29. Tamil Nadu has reported summer paddy sowing in 1.64 lh against 1.04 lh and in Telangana to 6.15 lh from 4.77 lh.

According to weekly update available online by Agriculture Ministry, sowing of crops (excluding coarse cereals), which will end by May, reached 46.88 lh as of Friday, which is 8 per cent more than 43.45 lh reported in the year-ago period as the zaid season is progressing well. Zaid crop is grown before kharif sowing and after rabi harvest.

Moong, urad area up

Summer pulses areas are up 3 per cent at 8.97 lh from 8.7 lh as higher coverage of urad and moong has been reported this year. Moong crop sowing is up at 6.52 lh against 6.33 lh year-ago and urad at 2.23 lh from 2.11 lh. The key growers of summer pulses are Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

Oilseeds acreage are reported at 8.48 lh against 8.26 lh, up by 3 per cent. Both groundnut at 3.89 lh and sesamum at 4.09 lh are higher than their year-ago levels of 3.77 lh and 4 lh, respectively. Sunflower acreage data was not updated this week in the portal and remained at 29,000 hectares as against 28,000 hectares in the year-ago period.

Below normal rains

Meanwhile, the cumulative rainfall in the pre-monsoon season since March 1 is 10 per cent below normal at 31.9 mm against 35.5 mm considered normal on pan-India basis until April 5. While north-west region is deficit by 12 per cent, the central India has received 76 per cent higher precipitation than its long period average (LPA) between March 1 and April 5. South peninsula region has received 80 per cent below normal rainfall and East and North-East India 8 per cent lower than the average precipitation, India Meteorological Department data show.

The water level in the 42 major reservoirs in southern region has dropped to 20 per cent of the capacity with the storage in 37 of them dipping to below 50 per cent the capacity this week. The Central Water Commission (CWC) in its weekly bulletin on live storage status of the 150 major Indian reservoirs said the storage in the southern region declined to 10.571 billion cubic metres (BCM) as on April 4 from their 53.334 BCM combined capacities.