A day after the monsoon’s onset over Kerala, the Agriculture Ministry’s collated sowing data from across the country shows that planting activities are yet to gather momentum in most of the States. However, the pace of sowing is likely to improve in the next two weeks as the monsoon is set to reach the key North-west region, considered the food bowl of India, a week earlier than normal.

The total area under kharif-sown crops is up 1 per cent at 78.34 lakh hectares (lh) as of June 9 against 77.58 lh in the corresponding period a year ago, official sources said. Barring sugarcane, cotton, maize and bajra, most of the major crops have reported a drop in acreage.

The acreage of paddy, the main kharif cereal, is down 28 per cent at 3.52 lh, while all pulses combined reported a 38 per cent decline at 1.09 lh and oilseeds acreage is 33 per cent lower at 78,000 hectares. The sowing area under nutri and coarse cereals, however, has reported an 80 per cent increase at 5.41 lh due to higher planting of maize, bajra and jowar. Sugarcane acreage is up 1 per cent at 47.49 lh.

Cotton farmers take lead

Among the pulses, tur has been sown on 0.17 lh, moong 0.23 lh and urad in 0.22 lh as of June 9. In the oilseeds section, groundnut sowing has been reported on 0.27 lh and soyabean on 0.19 lh. In coarse cereals, maize area reached 2.21 lh, bajra 2.39 lh and jowar 0.17 lh.

Cotton farmers have taken a lead this year as well as its acreage reached 14.32 lh, up by 9 per cent while jute and mesta reported a fall of 12 per cent at 5.73 lh.

Meanwhile, the rainfall deficit in the current monsoon season (June-September) widened to 62 per cent as of June 9 from 60 per cent until June 8 as the deficiency was 73 per cent on Friday. Kerala, where monsoon reached first, received 6.1 mm rainfall on Friday against 19 mm considered normal for the day.

Data from the Central Water Commission showed the storage level in the 146 major reservoirs in the country was 28 per cent of the total live storage capacity of 178.185 billion cubic metres (BCM). This was 6 percentage points lower than the same period a year ago.