Kharif sowing continues to lag; rice acreage dips 15%
New Delhi: Area sown to rice, the main kharif crop, has remained lower by 15 per cent at 67.25 lakh hectare (ha) so far in the 2018-19 season due to uneven distribution of rainfall.
Not only rice, farmers have sown coarse cereals, pulses, oilseeds and cotton in less area as on today compared to the year-ago period.
The planting of kharif (summer-sown) crops begin from June with the onset of southwest monsoon, which covered the entire country on June 29, two weeks earlier than the normal date.
According to the latest sowing data released by the Agriculture Ministry, rice acreage lagged behind at 67.25 lakh hectare so far in the kharif 2018-19 season as against 79.08 lakh hectare in the year ago period.
Less area of rice was reported from the states of Chhattisgarh (4.26 lakh ha), Uttar Pradesh (3.47 lakh ha), Punjab (2.77 lakh ha), Madhya Pradesh (1.60 lakh ha), Odisha (1.55 lakh ha), Haryana (1.03 lakh ha) and Manipur (1.03 lakh ha), among others.
"The lag in planting of kharif crops so far is an interim thing. There is no cause of concern as sowing has not begun yet in many growing states," Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director General Trilochan Mohapatra said.
While rainfall is normal as a whole in the country, there was uneven rain distribution in some pockets because of which farmers could not undertake sowing operations, he said.
Also, farmers were waiting for the minimum support price for kharif crops to make the choice of which crop to grow, he added.
As per the data, area sown to pulses such as tur, urad and moong was lower at 33.60 lakh hectare so far, down by 19.36 per cent from 41.67 lakh hectare in the year-ago.
Similarly, area under coarse cereals was lower by 13.45 per cent at 57.35 lakh hectare as against 66.27 lakh hectare in the said period.
Even planting of oilseeds remained sluggish as area was down by 13.42 per cent to 63.59 lakh hectare so far as against 73.45 lakh hectare in the same period last year.
Soyabean acreage was down by 3.85 per cent to 51.64 lakh hectare when compared with 53.70 lakh hectare in the