Wheat sowing nears completion, now at 27 million hectare

Written by Commodities Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 4 2009, 04:06am hrs
Wheat sowing in most parts of the country neared the targeted 28 million hectare for 2009 as farmers upped their planting to cash on the cold weather that is beneficial for crop development.

According to the latest government data, till Friday, wheat has been sown at around 26.26 million hectare, almost flat as compared to the same period last year. Experts opined that that timely sowing of the crucial foodgrain could boost overall production, as the current cold weather would help the crop in its grain formation stage. A higher wheat harvest could further ease inflation in prices of foodgrain and could also enable the government to relax some of the stringent export norms put in place to check price rise.

In 2006, the government banned, wheat and wheat product exports to check rise in prices and also boost local procurement. However, many believe that with wheat procurement reaching an all-time record of over 25 million tonne, the curbs on export could be eased if wheat production touched record levels again in 2009.

The area under pulses, too, has increased and till Thursday, pulses were sown in around 12.88 million hectare, up from 12.07 million hectare sown during the same period last year.

Oilseeds acreage rose to 8.90 million hectare, up from 7.98 million hectare in the corresponding period last year.

The rise in the overall Rabi pulses acreage has been mainly due to increase in area under chana (gram) and masoor (lentil). The chana acreage till Thursday was at 8.26 million hectare, up from 7.63 million hectare sown during the same period last year, while lentil acreage rose to 1.51 million hectare, from 1.33 million hectare.

There was also good news for the edible oil industry, which has been lobbying to impose import duties on such oils.

The area under rabi oilseeds has gone up to 8.90 million hectares till Friday, from 7.98 million hectare during the same period last year.