Kharif sowing picking up, early to gauge impact of stalled monsoon: Tomar

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July 28, 2021 2:15 AM

Kharif sowing has picked up in almost all major states with the advancement of monsoon, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.

Today, over 50% of the global seed market is controlled by 4 corporations.Farmers had planted paddy in 351.52 lakh hectare in the same season previous crop year

It is too early to gauge the impact on the summer crop output of the monsoon stalling for three weeks till July 11, the government said in Parliament on Tuesday, while admitting that the recent floods had damaged 2.02 lakh hectare of crop area.

Kharif sowing has picked up in almost all major states with the advancement of monsoon, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.

Monsoon covered the entire country on July 13.

Sowing of the summer crop improved in the past week following improvement in rainfall in many parts of the country. Sown area reached 67% of the season’s normal acreage of 107.3 million hectare on July 23, but was 9% lower than the year-ago level. The fall in acreage until the previous week was 12% year on year. By this time last year, sowing had reached 74% of the normal crop area due to the early onset of monsoon in all parts of the country.

“As per the long range forecast released by the India Meteorological Department, rainfall during the monsoon season 2021 over the country as whole is likely to be normal. The proper distribution of rainfall is more important for normal crop production. Therefore, it is too early to determine the impact of delayed monsoon on the agriculture produce,” Tomar said.

Starting from 2016-17, the country’s food grain output during the kharif season has been at record level every year. During the 2020-21 kharif season, the production was 148.4 million tonne, 3.2% higher than the year before.

As per official data, the economy contracted by 7.3%, the sharpest in history, in FY21. But the agriculture and allied sector remained one of the bright spots, with 3.6% growth in gross value added (GVA) in real terms even on a relatively unfavourable base.

Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand had said in May that higher agriculture commodities prices and an expected normal monsoon would have a strong positive effect on agriculture growth, better than FY21.

Heavy rainfall in the south peninsula has increased water levels in the reservoirs in the region, which is good for irrigation. But several districts of Maharashtra and Karnataka have been affected by floods and farmers may have to wait till the water recedes to re-sow short-duration crops.

Tomar, in a separate reply, also informed the Lok Sabha that 2.02 lakh hectare crop area had been damaged in floods in many states, including Gujarat (1.49 lakh hectare), Kerala (0.24 lakh hectare), Maharashtra (0.17 lakh hectare) and Karnataka (0.03 lakh hectare) as of July 21. Last year, over 66 lakh hectare crop area was affected by flooding, he said.

According to agriculture ministry data, acreage under pulses was down 10% from the year-ago level as on July 23. Unless the acreage in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh reaches last year’s level, the country’s kharif pulses production may be badly hit this year, trade sources said. The stalling of the monsoon for three weeks has affected sowing of pulses, and the recovery after the revival of rain seems patchy.

Fall in pulses acreage raises the spectre of the government resorting to trade-restrictive measures like imposition of stock holding again in November-December to check prices. A rise in prices of pulses had forced the government to put stock limits on July 2, a step not in conformity with the free-trade concept it embraced after diluting the Essential Commodities Act in June 2020. Last week, it eased the restrictions a bit due to traders’ protests. On Monday, the government removed the basic customs duty on masur dal and halved the agriculture infrastructure cess on the lentil.

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