The sowing of wheat, the main rabi crop, is in full swing in most parts of the country and the pace will pick up once kharif crops are harvested completely, a senior official of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) said today. The government has kept the wheat output target at 97.50 million tonnes for 2017-18 crop year (July-June), against 98.38 million tonnes production achieved in 2016-17. “Sowing is in full swing in wheat growing states. Taking advantage of soil moisture, farmers in Madhya Pradesh have planted varieties that mature in 110 days,” a senior ICAR official told PTI. Similarly, the sowing of wheat crop in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh is underway and the pace will increase in the coming days, the official said. Farmers in some parts are still harvesting their kharif (summer) paddy crop and once that gets over they will prepare their fields for wheat crop.
Last year, farmers had sown wheat in a record 31.8 million hectares, the highest ever, surpassing the 31.5 million hectares planted in 2013-14. To boost production, the government has hiked the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat by Rs 110 to Rs 1,735/quintal for this year. The MSP is the rate at which government buys the grain from farmers. Gram, masur, rapeseed/mustard seed, safflower are other crops which are grown in the rabi season. Sowing of rabi crops begins from October and harvest starts from March.