Despite weeks of heavy rains early in the season and hurdles in the procurement process, Telangana farmers have sown paddy on a record 62.13 lakh acres in the ongoing kharif against 61.95 lakh acres sown last year, constituting half of the cultivable area of 1.24 crore acres.

The total paddy area is expected to grow still further as the Agriculture Department expects the farmers to cover some additional area in the next couple of weeks. “It may cross the 65-lakh acre mark,” an official of the department has said.

The area under paddy has gone up significantly over the last nine years in the State. When the State was formed in 2014, the area under paddy was only 22.74 lakh acres. As it augmented irrigation facilities, the area went up to 41 lakh acres in 2019 and 53 lakh acres in the following year.

Sowing operations have been disrupted due to heavy rains in July and August, forcing thousands of farmers to go for second sowing after flood waters inundated their fields.

Cotton area dips

Area under cotton — the second most important crop in the kharif season — crossed the 50-lakh acre mark. The poor response to the fibre crop has surprised many as analysts expected that the area under cotton could top 65-70 lakh acres, owing to the record prices the farmers got last year.

“We wanted to curtail the paddy area to 45 lakh acres and wanted the farmers to grow cotton on 70 lakh acres. Heavy rains for several days had caused damage to cotton crop. This could be one of the reasons for the fall in area,” an official said.

The farmers could not go for second sowing because of water logging in several areas. Redgram and maize area, too, fell short of the targets. While redgram was grown on 5.60 lakh acres against the target of 15 lakh acres, maize was sown on 6 lakh acres against the targetted 8 lakh acres.