Agri Business

Rice sowing gathers pace, cane area rises

Tomojit Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on May 22, 2015

Paddy sowing

The sowing of rice, the main foodgrain grown during the Kharif season, is gathering pace with 2.68 lakh hectares (lh) covered as of Friday, as per the latest estimates provided by the Agriculture Ministry. The figure during the corresponding period last year stood at 2.28 lh.

“About 2.68 lh area coverage under rice has been reported from Assam (1.10 lh), Nagaland (0.85 lh), Arunachal Pradesh (0.52 lh), Tamil nadu (0.19 lh) and Odisha (0.02 lh),” said an official statement.

Overall, area under Kharif crops increased to 56.22 lh from 49.04 lh at the same time last year.

Monsoon concerns

Pre-monsoon showers have been encouraging say experts but warn that official estimates of lower rainfall during the four-month southwest monsoon could have an impact in low-lying rain-fed cultivation areas in eastern India which accounts for 60 per cent of the rice growing area with almost 50 per cent reliant on rain.

The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted rainfall this Kharif at 93 per cent of long-period average of 89 cm., driven mainly by the El Nino weather phenomenon. Last season, deficient rainfall estimated at 88 per cent resulted foodgrain output declining by 13.92 million tonne (mt) to 251.12 mt.

“Pre-monsoon showers should benefit farmers planting the early ‘aus’ varieties of 90-110 days duration. However, heat waves have been strong, and if the lower rainfall prediction is true, there could be some apprehension about large scale sowing particularly in eastern India,” said Trilochan Mohapatra, Director, Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack.

He did not expect rice acreage to increase beyond the 37.48 million hectares registered last season if there is a rainfall deficit and any predictions about sowing could only be made once there were estimates of distribution made public.

“If there is a delayed monsoon, farmers in States like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and parts of West Bengal and eastern Uttar Pradesh, could opt to not plant rice,” said Mohapatra.

He added that even if water levels in reservoirs were up due to the pre-monsoon rain, it would be difficult to supply the water in the areas mentioned given the lack of infrastructure.

In better-irrigated States like Haryana and Punjab, sowing would start by early June with nurseries being raised already. Long-duration varieties are generally sown between end-May and early-July across eastern and southern India, ahead of the heavy showers between July-early September.

Cane acreage up

Acreage for sugarcane has also risen to 40.7 lh from 40.58 lh at the same time last year with increased area reported from Uttar Pradesh (0.38 lh), Madhya Pradesh 0.43 lh) and Gujarat (0.19 lh) and decline reported from Maharashtra (0.61 lh), Karnataka (0.88 lh) among others.

Area under jute and mesta has also shown an uptick with 6.72 lh under the crop as compared to 6.18 lh at the same time in 2014.

Published on May 22, 2015
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