Wheat sowing slows, acreage under oilseed increases

Written by Commodities Bureau | New Delhi, Nov 21 | Updated: Nov 23 2008, 04:16am hrs
Indias wheat sowing slowed down a bit after starting off on a brisk note and was sown on around 8.4 million hectare during the week ending November 20 against 8.5 million hectare a year ago. Sowing started on October 1 and continued at a steady pace till last week.

However, most officials believe that the slight hold-up in the pace of wheat sowing was temporary and would pick up once winter sets in most parts of northern India.

According to an official statement, winter-sown oilseeds have been planted on 7.3 million hectare since October 1 against 5.9 million hectare in the year-ago period. Sowing of rapeseed, a chief winter-oilseed reached 5.6 million hectare, up from 4.4 million hectare a year ago.

Oilseed has been sown over a larger area as edible oil prices held steady last year, a senior industry observer said. The data showed that maize was sown over 396,000 hectare, up from 292,000 hectare a year ago. Wheat, mustard and pulses are the three main crops grown in India during the Rabi sowing season, harvesting for which starts at around February.

In 2007-08, wheat production was estimated to be a record 78.40 million tonnes, up almost 3.0 million tonne from last year.