The ongoing kharif sowing of all crops has crossed 900 lakh hectares (lh) to reach 908.61 lakh hectares (lh) this week. But, it is still lower by over 28 lh from 937 lh a year ago, official sources said. The Agriculture Ministry did not release the weekly update on Friday.

According to sources, the gap in paddy acreage, which was trailing by over 35 lh until last week from the year-ago level, has further widened to nearly 40 lh which is one of the factors for the government’s decision of not releasing the sowing data. Paddy acreage until August 5 last year was at 314.14 lh, the sources said.

Barring paddy, the kharif sowing of all other crops is up by 1.9 per cent at 634.32 lh from 622.51 lh a year ago, the sources said, adding that the area under paddy is down by over 12.7 per cent.

Maize acreage improves

Oilseeds sowing is a tad higher at 174.79 lh from 173.82 lh in which soyabean is reported to have been sown in 117.51 lh and groundnut at 41.09 lh. The acreage of coarse cereals has increased to 160.37 lh from 154.40 lh. The area under maize, however, has improved from last week, narrowing the gap to reach at 75.75 lh against 76.34 lh a year ago.

Cotton acreage continues to be up at 121.12 lh until Friday, from 113.50 lh a year ago. Jute and mesta sowing is marginally down at 6.92 lh against 6.94 lh and that of sugarcane at 54.67lh against 54.42 lh.

Last year as much as 80 per cent of the normal area (1,070 lh) got covered by end of July whereas this year the total sowing was 76 per cent of the normal 1,084.97 lh in first two months of the season. Due to the widespread distribution of rainfall, barring Uttar Pradesh ,Bihar and Jharkhand, it was possible to cover 36 per cent of normal area in last three weeks of July.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted good rainfall in July in most of the States barring a few in the eastern region. However, low-pressure systems, if built, can fill the gap in deficiency in monsoon rainfall in those States, too. The country, as a whole, has received 6 per cent above normal rainfall between June 1 and August 5.

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