The Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), under the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), in its contingency plan for the two rainfall-deficient states has suggested that if good rainfall occurs up to 15thAugust, short-duration varieties such asTuranta, Prabhat, and Saket-4 may be transplanted in medium and low land situation.
The farmers have also been advised to grow pulses such as Urad, Arhar, Bajra and sweet potato in upland and medium-land areas.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) data say so far the country has received 15% more rainfall compared to the long-period average (LPA), calculated on the basis of the average annual rainfall (89 cm) recorded between 1951 and 2000.
However the eastern and north-eastern states have got only 67% of the normal rainfall, which has affected paddy-sowing.
Bihar and Jharkhand have got little rainfall after monsoon rains hit the Kerala coast on June 1. Both states, with large areas under rain-fed farming, have got a huge rainfall deficiency of 31% from the LPA.
CRIDA in its report has stated that the worst-affected districts in Bihar include Gaya, Aurangabad, Munger, Siwan, Patna, Vaishali and Nawada, and the transplanted crop is facing moisture-deficit stress.
The worst-affected districts in Jharkhand are Koderma and Chatra, with below-70% deficit rainfall and no rice transplanting has been taken up so far whereas Khunti, Lohardaga, East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Gumla, Latehar and Ranchi districts received less than 50% rainfall compared to the LPA, the CRIDA advisory to the farmers stated.
The situation in Bihar, Jharkhand and many north-eastern states has been grim, because of which paddy transplanting has not been completed, Trilochan Mohapatra, director, Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), a Cuttack-based national institute under ICAR, told FE.
Mohapatra said the situation of paddy transplantation would be assessed only after next forth-night. The ministry of agriculture would be releasing data on kharif rice sowing today.
By and large, there have been good rains everywhere and farmers have started sowing activity. This is a good sign. I will be able to give the final data on sowing by the second week of August, said agriculture minister Sharad Pawar recently.
Rice production during 2012-13 was 104 mt, out of which 90 mt was grown in the kharif season. Due to poor monsoon in 2009-10, paddy production fell 14% to 89.09 mt.
The total area under rice cultivation in the country is estimated at around 44 million hectare. More than 88% of the rice is grown in the kharif season and sowing usually continues till the end of August.
Meanwhile, as per IMD data, while the north-western region has received 21% excess rainfall till now, the central Indian region has received over 41% more rain than normal. Even the southern peninsula has received 28% excess rainfall.