Despite the area under paddy gaining traction in the last leg of kharif sowing season, the total acreage is set to eventually end a tad lower than last year. The total kharif area, as of mid-September, stood at 1105.19 lakh hectares (lh) — 0.83 per cent lower than previous year’s 1114.50 lh.

Monsoon’s pause factor

After a sluggish start due to the south-west monsoon taking a “break” in mid-June and early July, mainly in parts of Western and Central India, farmers have bridged the gap in acreageplanting more of paddy, pulses such as tur and urad, sugarcane, jute and mesta.

Prolonged dry spells, which includes another “break” in early August, during monsoon season have impacted sowing in Gujarat, the largest producer of cotton and groundnut, and Rajasthan, the major producer of bajra.

Seasonal rainfall for the country as a whole was four per cent lower than normal. Parts of East, North-East and North West India had 11 per cent deficit.Only the South witnessed a surplus rainfall of 12 per this monsoon.

Kharif Scorecard

(Area in lakh hectares as on Sept 17)

Source: Agriculture Ministry

Over the past week, paddy acreage increased by about five lh to 414.18 lh, as transplantation is still going on in some parts of the country including South. Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have seen the paddy area going up over last week.

Cash crops’ area down

Other crops such as pulses, coarse cereals, oilseeds, sugarcane and cotton also showed a marginal increase over the last week. While the sowing of these crops has ended, data continue to trickle, resulting a marginal increase in the area sown.

Area under sugarcane has increased and so also jute and mesta. Cotton area is seen settling lower by over 5 per cent this year.

Among coarse cereals, maize at 81.52 lh and ragi at 10.35 lh and small millets at 4.77 lh have gained acreage, while jowar at 14.65 lh and bajra at 63.40 lh have seen a decline.

Among oilseeds, groundnut at 49.14 lh, sesamum at 13.31 lh and castor at 6.96 lh lost ground. Soyabean has gained area at 121.77 lh.

In pulses, tur has crossed 50 lh, while area under urad has edged up to 39.43 lh. Area under moong has declined to 35.25 lh.