After a sluggish start, the rabi sowing pace picked up pace this week compared to last week, while overall, winter-sown crops have declined by more than 14% from a year ago period, official data released by ministry of agriculture on Friday said.
The total area sown under rabi crops is reported at 242 lakh hectare till Friday, against 276 lakh hectare reported a year ago. Last week, only 123 lakh hectare was under winter crops
The government is aiming at increasing rabi grain production by 5%, to offset an estimated 2% drop in kharif grain output; rabi sowing in the next few weeks would be crucial for the output, said analysts.
However, the areas under pulses — which witnessed a sharp price rise that forced the government to undertake a massive anti-hoarding drive — has declined marginally by 4.5% until Friday from a year before.While coarse cereal sowing have jumped by more than 24% compared with last year, wheat sowing picked up pace this week. However, the wheat sowing is still down by 36% compared to a year ago period. The rabi season accounts for roughly two-thirds of the country’s annual pulse production, and any plunge in winter output can worsen price pressure in the protein-rich staple, which witnessed a double-digit rise in the wholesale price index (WPI) for nine months now.
Prices of tur — which is grown primarily in the kharif season — hit a record R200 per kg last month before easing a tad, as output of the pulse variety had dropped over 12% in 2014-15 from a year earlier. Even against a target of 3.67 million tonne (MT) for kharif 2015-16, tur output stood at only 2.61 MT, thanks to poor rains, according to the government’s first advance estimate of the farm production in 2015-16.