Paddy sowing in Uttar Pradesh, the second biggest producer of rice in the country, has been lagging last year’s level because of deficient monsoon rains so far.
The situation is expected to worsen if the state does not get adequate rainfall in the next couple of weeks.
According to state government data, paddy has been sown in 2.7 million hectare (MH) so far which is around 23% less than a year ago. The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier set a target of 5.9 MH for paddy sowing for the season.
Of the 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh, only Firozabad and Agra have received adequate monsoon rainfall, while in all the remaining districts paddy transplantation has been delayed because of deficiency in rainfall.
“It’s getting late for paddy sowing and nurseries have matured beyond their stipulated time. Usually, nurseries are transplanted in 20 days but now they are almost a month old,” Rajesh Kumar Gupta, director of statistics, department of agriculture, Uttar Pradesh told FE.
Gupta also said that while farmers in the western part of the state are equipped with irrigation facilities, the situation is challenging in the eastern region.
Uttar Pradesh, the second biggest producer of rice, has a share of around 13% in the country’s rice production of 122.27 million tonne (MT) in 2020-21 crop year (July-June).
Amidst concerns that a deficient monsoon will adversely affect the kharif crops, especially paddy, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday reviewed the situation with the senior officials for preparation of contingency plan.
Uttar Pradesh has received only 81.8 mm rainfall till Monday, which is about 68% less than the normal benchmark of 258 mm.
According to agriculture ministry data till July 15, 2022, kharif crops including paddy, pulses, oilseeds, coarse cereals, sugarcane and cotton were sown in 59.21 MH, marginally higher than corresponding period last year.
However, the sown area of paddy at 12.8 MH is still 17% less than year ago. The slow progress of sowing in Uttar Pradesh is the key factor behind less sowing of staple grain across the country.
According to an agriculture ministry official, windows for paddy transplanting exist till early August. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday predicted enhanced rainfall activity over northwest India, north-eastern states and West Bengal during the next three days. Met department officials said that Uttar Pradesh is expected to get monsoon rains over the next three days.
The cumulative rainfall across the country received during June 1-July 20 was 380 mm, which was 11% more than the normal benchmark of 342 mm for the same period. Central India and the south peninsula have received 30% and 34% more rainfall respectively than the normal range so far.
The rainfall deficiency in northwest India and east and north east regions has been 9% and 14% respectively.
The met department had stated that cumulative rainfall during July 2022 is most likely to be in the normal range – 94% to 106 % of benchmark long period average (LPA).
In April, 2022, the government had set a record foodgrain production target of 328 MT in the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) against 314 MT of production in 2021-22, as per the third advance estimate of foodgrain output.