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Kharif paddy sowing up 17% so far this year

<g data-gr-id="53">Area</g> under coverage for paddy has risen by 17 per cent so far in this Kharif season at 2.68 lakh hectares amid forecast that monsoon rains will hit Kerala on May 30, two days ahead of its schedule.

<g data-gr-id="31">Sowing</g> area under paddy stood at 2.28 lakh hectares in the year-ago period, according to Agriculture Ministry data released on Friday. "The total sown area as on 22nd May, as per reports received from States, stands at 56.22 lakh hectare as compared to 49.04 lakh hectare at this time last year. Sown area coverage of crops is higher in comparison to the previous <g data-gr-id="32">kharif</g> season," the ministry said in a statement. 

<g data-gr-id="52">Area</g> under sugarcane stands at 40.70 lakh hectares so far this Kharif season, slightly up from last year's level of 40.58 lakh hectares. Farmers have sown cotton in 6.12 lakh hectares area as on May 22. While there were no reports of cotton sowing during the same period last year. Sowing operations of <g data-gr-id="33">kharif</g> crops including paddy begins from May and the harvesting starts from October. The weather office has forecast that monsoon would hit the Kerala coast on May 30, two days ahead of its schedule. Below normal forecast of monsoon by weather office, has already prompted the <g data-gr-id="67">overnment</g> to put in place a contingency plan for 580 districts and push crop insurance for farmers. 

The country witnessed 12 per cent deficient rains in 2014, which affected the production of <g data-gr-id="23">foodgrains</g> and other crops during <g data-gr-id="66">2014-15</g> crop year (July-June). Foodgrains production is estimated to have declined by 5.25 <g data-gr-id="25">per cent</g> to 251.12 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year due to poor monsoon and unseasonal rain in last two months. 
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