The sowing of summer crops (excluding coarse cereals), which will end by May, reached 43.81 lakh hectares (lh) as on Friday, which is 11 per cent more than 39.49 lh reported in the year-ago period as the zaid season is progressing well despite low reservoirs level in many States.

Paddy, pulses and oilseeds all reported increase in acreage. Zaid crop is grown before kharif sowing and after rabi harvest.

According to weekly update available online by Agriculture Ministry, paddy sowing was up 10 per cent at 28.42 lh from 25.88 lh year-ago, while pulses areas up by 24 per cent to reach 7.72 lh from 6.25 lh and oilseeds acreage up 4 per cent at 7.67 lh against 7.36 lh. The portal did not have the acreage data of coarse cereals.

Bengal paddy area up

Higher area under summer pulses was mainly due to more coverage of urad and moong. Moong crop sowing up at 5.47 lh against 4.43 lh year-ago and urad at 2.08 lh from 1.65 lh. The key growers of summer pulses are Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

Both groundnut at 3.67 lh and sesamum at 3.5 lh are higher than their year-ago levels of 3.58 lh and 3.31 lh, respectively. Sunflower acreage reported to have reached 29,000 hectares against 26,000 hectares year-ago.

The summer paddy area in West Bengal reported at 10.22 lh, up from 7.87 lh while in Tamil Nadu it reached 1.29 lh from 0.77 lh and in Telangana to 5.99 lh from 4.77 lh.

Meanwhile, the cumulative rainfall in pre-monsoon season since March 1 is 10 per cent below normal at 25 mm against 27.9 mm considered normal on pan-India basis until March 29. While north-west region is deficit by 19 per cent, the central India has received 111 per cent higher precipitation than its long period average (LPA) during March 1-29. South peninsula region has received 79 per cent below normal rainfall and east and north-east India 7 per cent lower than average precipitation during March 1-29, India Meteorological Department data show.