The government is confident of meeting the rice production target of 111 million tonnes (mt) in current kharif season after the surge in sowing area and a conducive weather in main growing regions. However, pulses and oilseeds production may drop, officials said, adding that surplus production in chana during the rabi season this year may help in meeting the shortfall in pulses while import may marginally go up in case of edible oils.

“Rice was a major concern and we are hopeful of reaching the target. Even if it is missed, it will not fall below 110 mt production of last season,” said a senior Agriculture Ministry official. Since the sowing window of pulses and oilseeds is over, and due to deficient rainfall in August the overall pulses and oilseeds production may be lower, the official said.

Late-sown crops to benefit

The late-sown crops which are at flowering stage now, will be benefited from the current spell of rain in different parts of the country, the official said.

The paddy acreage in the ongoing kharif season has reached 403.41 lakh hectares (lh) as of September 8, up by 3 per cent from 392.81 lh a year ago, the Agriculture Ministry said on Monday. The last five years’ average paddy area is 399.45 lh.

After a 36 per cent deficient rainfall in August, the precipitation this month (Sept 1-11) is 5 per cent below normal. Except Rajasthan, most States have received rains, particularly the east and north-east have got good showers.

Overall, the acreage of all kharif crops has reached 1,088.5 lh against 1,088.02 lh a year ago, the Ministry said in the weekly update.

Urad area down 14%

The area under arhar (pigeon pea), moong (green gram) and urad (black matpe) have been down this year due to a shift towards cotton and soyabean in many States. The total area under pulses has declined 9 per cent to 119.91 lh from 131.17 lh. Moong was covered in 31.11 lh (-8 per cent), urad in 31.89 lh (-14 per cent) and arhar in 42.92 lh (-6 per cent).

Oilseeds acreage declined 1 per cent at 191.49 lh, down from 193.30 lh year-ago in which soyabean acreage was at 125.40 lh, up from 124.06 lh year-ago. Groundnut area continues to slide from year-ago and reached at 43.73 lh against 45.30 lh, down by 4 per cent and its sowing is nearly over.

Coarse cereals gain

The area under coarse and nutri cereals was a tad higher at 182.21 lh from 181.24 lh after farmers increased planting small millets and maize. The bajra area reached 70.84 lh from 70.46 lh and that of maize is up by 3 per cent to 83.33 lh from 80.97 lh. Jowar area has declined 10 per cent to 14.08 lh from 15.58 lh and ragi down by 6 per cent to 8.73 lh from 9.29 lh.

Kharif coverage of cotton is down by 2 per cent to 125 lh from 126.87 lh in the year-ago period. But among cash crops, sugarcane area is up by 8 per cent to 59.91 lh from 55.65 lh.