Agri Business

Rabi sowing seen headed for record this year

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2021

Wheat, gram, mustard acreage this year breaking all previous highs: Agri Ministry

Rabi crop acreage in the country is heading for a record high with wheat, gram and mustard already surpassing the best acreage in the past.

According to data released by the Agriculture Ministry on Friday, rabi crops have so far been planted over nearly 652 lakh hectares (lha), nearly two per cent more than around 642 lha covered in the corresponding week last year.

At 337 lha, wheat acreage is already at an all-time high. “Good rains received in central peninsular region during September-October months prompted many farmers in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra to shift from chickpea to wheat,” said GP Singh, Director of the Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) constituent lab at Karnal.

The area under wheat in Madhya Pradesh went up by nearly 10 lha this season, while farmers in Maharashtra planted it over an additional 1.13 lha. Another reason for higher area is also the premium commanded by premium wheat varieties grown in Madhya Pradesh, said Singh.


Preference given to wheat

The preference given to wheat over gram in some pockets, however, has not affected overall gram acreage, nonetheless. Farmers in Gujarat and Maharashtra planted more areas under gram, taking the total gram coverage in the country to a record 109 lha, nearly 4 lha more than same week last year. The total area under pulses is again the highest at 162 lha, which is 2 per cent more than that in the same period last year.

Mustard is also doing exceeding well this season with acreage breaking all records. “Under the Oilseeds Mission, the government wanted to take the area under mustard to around 80 lakh hectares this year. But farmers were able to plant 73 lakh hectares, which is still a record high,” said Pramod Kumar Rai, Director of ICAR-Directorate Rapeseed-Mustard Research (ICAR-DRMR) at Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

Boost in mustard sowing

The Food Standards and Safety Authority of India’s (FSSAI) decision to not to allow blending of other oils in mustard oil in October also contributed to an increase in mustard acreage. The decision came around the time when farmers were to gearing up for sowing. This helped increase the area, even though FSSAI subsequently withdrew the order temporarily. The authority is still actively considering the ban, Rai said. Mustard is fetching prices higher than the minimum support price in the market, said the ICAR-DRMR Director.

The area under winter rice stood at 21 lha, 5 per cent more than the area under in the corresponding week last year.

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Published on January 15, 2021
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