Thanks to early onset and normal monsoon rains received this month, sowing of kharif crops have commenced on a brisk note. Areas sown of key crops except oilseeds and sugarcane so far has been higher than the level at the same time last year, with the overall sowing 19% higher (see chart).
Paddy growing areas have declined marginally compared to last year. Of course, these are still very early days – only 21% of the sowing has completed by now.Analysts said unless key paddy-growing areas witness sustained rain deficit over the next few weeks, the kharif output would likely be robust. However, there has been a decline in oilseeds sowing so far by around 8% which is mainly attributed to bumper soyabean output last year that pulled down the prices. This week saw boost in pulses output after a sluggish start in the past few weeks. Because of normal rainfall last year, the country’s foodgrains production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to reach an all-time record of 273.38 million tonne (MT), which is 8.7% more than the previous year.
Gross value added in the farm and allied sector grew an impressive 4.9% in 2016-17, against just 0.7% in the previous year, thanks to a bumper harvest after two straight years of drought. Recently, the Centre approved increases in Minimum Support Price (MSP) in the range of 5-8% for the 2017-18 kharif crops. Experts say that with India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting ‘normal’ monsoon rain this season (June-September), the sowing activities are expected to pick up pace as the monsoon rains covers the entire country in the next one week. Currently, however, there are some concerns over the deficient rains in eastern region.
“Favourable conditions are developing for the further advance of southwest monsoon into remaining parts of Bihar and some more parts of Madhya Pradesh, east Uttar Pradesh during next 48 hours, and subsequently towards west Uttar Pradesh, National Capital Region and some parts of Uttarakhand and Haryana during next 72 hour,” IMD stated in its latest forecast on Friday.
During the month of June, the quantum of monsoon rains have been more than 170 millimeter, which is 104% of the benchmark long period average (LPA) of 89 centimeter. The rainfall of 96-104% of LPA is considered “normal”.