By Sandip Das
Adequate winter rainfall in key rabi-crops-growing states along with ‘extremely good’ water reservoir position have brightened the crop prospects, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.
While stating that the third wave of Covid has no impact on the sowing of winter crops, the ministry noted that the availability of soil moisture condition in the country indicates good prospect for the forthcoming summer crops such as pulses, corn, fruits and vegetables.
Wheat, pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals are the main rabi crops. The sowing in the current season is almost complete.
As per the Central Water Commission data, the live water storage level in 137 reservoirs in the country is 102% of live storage of corresponding period of last year and 124% of average of last ten years.
The sowing of rabi crops, mostly consisting of wheat, pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals, for the current season (2021-22) has been largely completed with the total sowing area being marginally higher than the previous year. The final data on sowing of rabi crops will be finalised by the end of this month.
The total area under all the rabi crops rose to 679 lakh hectare (lh) in the 2021-22 season compared to 672 lh reported a year ago, according to the data released by the agriculture ministry on Friday.
While the sowing of wheat and coarse cereals has been reported to be marginally lower compared to last year, sowing of oilseeds has been significantly higher than last year especially because of the record acreage of mustard.
Wheat has been sown on 341 lh as on Friday, compared with 345 lh a year ago.
Officials say that lower sowing of wheat is not a cause of concern as at present the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has more than 32 million tonne (MT) of wheat stocks against the buffer norm on January 1 of 21.41 MT. India achieved a record wheat production of 122 MT in the 2020-21 crop year.
The winter pulses such as chana, moong and urad have been planted on 164 lh this year so far, which is marginally higher than the same level compared to last year. However, sowing of chana, which had close to 47% share in India’s pulses production of 25.72 MT in 2020-21, has been close to 4% higher at near 113 lh this year compared to 2021.
The sowing of oilseeds such as mustard, groundnut and sunflower rose sharply by more than 22% to 101 lh as on Friday from 83 lh reported a year ago. The sowing of mustard so far has increased by 24% to 91 lh compared to close to 73 lh reported a year ago.
Official sources said higher oilseeds sowing would help meet domestic edible oil demand and reduce import dependence. India imports around 60% of the domestic edible oil requirement while the retail prices have risen sharply in the last few months because of a rise in global prices.
There was lower coverage under coarse-cum-nutri cereals as the total sown area has been lower at 49 lh so far against 51 lh reported in the previous year.
FCI in collaboration with state government agencies would commence procurement of wheat from April 1 in key producing states, including Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The procurement of chana by farmers’ cooperative Nafed would commence in March 2022.