Oilseed acreage up 3.88% in rabi

New Delhi, Nov 22 | Updated: Nov 23 2005, 05:51am hrs
Oilseed acreage in on-going rabi season has so far reached 94% of normal coverage, besides recording nearly 4% rise till last week over the year-ago period.

Oilseeds acreage grew 3.88% till the week ending on November 18 to 75.86 lakh hectare against 73.03 lakh hectare in the year-ago period, said latest farm ministry updates on the progress of rabi season.

The latest acreage figures point that nearly 94% of the normal area of 81.18 lakh hectare has been covered so far.

The cover under rapeseed and mustard, the main oilseed crop in rabi, registered nearly 11 per cent increase to 53.99 lakh hectare from 48.74 lakh hectare.

The current acreage under rapeseed and mustard is more than the corresponding period of last two years and more than the normal area coverage, said a farm ministry official.

Normal area for rapeseed and mustard stands at 51.02 lakh hectare during rabi.

The sowing of rapeseed and mustard in West Bengal has not yet started due to heavy rainfall during first fortnight of November and land preparations are taking place and sowing will start from next week.

Similar, situation has been reported from Bihar.

Groundnut coverage, however, was lower by 19.5 per cent at 4.5 lakh hectare till last week as against 5.59 lakh hectare during the same period last year.

Safflower sowing acreage recorded a 4.29% decline at 2.9 lakh hectare till last week against 3.03 lakh hectare recorded in the same week last year.

As regards sunflower coverage, the current acreage is slightly lower at 9.55 lakh hectare till last week as against 9.41 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.

Sunflower sowing is still continuing in many states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

The area under sunflower may increase during the current year due to crop diversification programme taken by the ap state, said a commodity expert.

Sesamum acreage at 1.72 lakh hectare is slightly more than 1.67 lakh coverage a year ago and was mainly due to a higher area coverage of the crop in Tamil nadu.

Sesamum sowing is yet to start in West Bengal, while its sowing is still continuing in other states. Normal coverage for sesamum stands at 2.09 lakh hectare.

Linseed coverage at 2.57 lakh hectare is less during the current year, as compared to 3.79 lakh hectare a year ago as a result of lower acreage of the crop in madhya Pradesh and chhattisgarh states.

Normal area for linseed stands at 5.37 lakh hectare.

Interestingly, coverage under the main rabi crop - wheat recorded an impressive 13% rise at 51.23 lakh hectare against 45.32 lakh hectare during same period last year.

The outlook for wheat crop for rabi appear bright due to favourable soil moisture content and healthy water reservoir storage status in the major wheat producing belt, said a farm expert, adding that good rainfall during September had brightened the production prospect.