Monsoon boost: Deficit in kharif sowing to be over by July-end, says govt

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Updated: July 9, 2019 7:54:31 AM

Speaking on the sidelines of a state agriculture ministers’ conference, Tomar also said that the Centre has been in touch with states to tackle if there is any drought like situation. “We (Centre and states) will work together,” he said.

Indian farmers, kharif season,kharif season, Indian cotton farmers, cotton farmers, cotton crop, bt brinjal farming, Narendra Modi GovtMonsoon rains have been 19% below normal so far this season

Allaying apprehension of a drop in crops output, the government has expressed confidence that the deficit in kharif sowing will be covered by the end of the month after rains rebounded in many parts in the past few days. Many of the major producing states are also banking on the current spell of monsoon to make up the sowing area losses in June that received a five-year low monsoon rainfall.

“Wait till this month-end, the sowing area will recover,” a senior agriculture ministry official said on Monday. But, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar was more cautious. “Delay in sowing of Kharif crops is a cause of concern. There is still time for farmers to complete sowing operations,” he said.
Monsoon rains were 19% below normal so far, in this season.

Speaking on the sidelines of a state agriculture ministers’ conference, Tomar also said that the Centre has been in touch with states to tackle if there is any drought like situation. “We (Centre and states) will work together,” he said.

Asked about expected Kharif crop production, he said it is too early to comment. Sowing of all crops was lower at 234.33 lakh hectare as of July 5, down by 27% from the year-ago period. Because of scanty rainfall, farmers have so far sown crops in 22% of total kharif areas of nearly 1,064 lakh hectare, whereas they should have covered more than 30% by this time in a normal year.

Bihar’s agriculture minister Prem Kumar sought Central assistance as the monsoon is deficient for the second consecutive year. “Last year, we had spent `934 crore to help farmers because of lower rainfall. This year too, the monsoon was 49% below normal (until July 6) in the state,” Kumar said. Monsoon deficit was 25% in Bihar in 2018.

Maharashtra demanded the minimum support price (MSP) of cotton be raised by `500 per quintal from last year’s `5,150.
The Centre last week had raised the cotton MSP to `5,255 per quintal for 2019-20 crop year (July-June). The state’s agriculture minister Anil Bonde said the deficit in sowing area in the state will be made up in two weeks as the state has received good rain.

However, if the dry spell in Marathwada and Vidarbha continues for few more days, the yield may be affected, he added. While Vidarbha, main cotton producing belt has received 22% below normal rains, the tur and soyabean growing Marathwada is 34% deficient, so far since June 1.

Other states did not raise issues related to lower sowing even as minister of state Parshottam Rupala asked the agriculture ministers to raise any matter of concern as the Centre wants to address all issues to achieve the target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. Most of the states like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra suggested changes in the flagship crop insurance scheme — Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).

Haryana’s agriculture minister OP Dhankar said the state has decided to give `6,000 per year to each farmer family as direct income support, over and above the PM-Kisan scheme. He said farmers who would opt for a pension plan in lieu of the `6,000, they will get a monthly pension of `3,000-15,000 depending on their age at entry. The state has already budgeted `1,500 crore for this purpose, he added.

Agriculture ministers from many non-BJP ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal, Odisha and Karnataka did not participate.

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