Favourable weather conditions, availability of water and higher prices of wheat and other commodities have translated into almost 70 % higher sowing in Gujarat for the current winter (rabi) season compared to previous 2021-22 season by the end of November.
As per the latest data of the state agriculture department compared to previous year’s sowing of 1.5 million hectare by the end of November, already acreage across crops has crossed 2.5 million hectare for the rabi season 2022-23. “Generally, winter sowing starts in Gujarat from the last week of October and continues till the first week of January.
Higher prices of cereals including that of wheat and availability of water have encouraged farmers to increase acreage for almost all winter crops,” says SJ Solanki, director of agriculture, government of Gujarat.
In view of favourable conditions, by the end of current rabi sowing season, overall acreage in Gujarat is likely to increase by around 20% compared to 2021-22 winter season. Progressive area under cultivation for wheat has increased by almost two and half times till the beginning of December and touched 0.58 million hectare as compared to 0.2 million hectare last year during the same period.
Similarly sowing area of other cereals including maize and jowar too has increased by almost three folds to 0.7 million hectare from previous year’s 0.29 million hectare. Acreage of coriander seeds increased more than four fold from 35,500 hectare to over 1,57,000 hectare during the period. Sowing of pulses for the rabi season has gone up to 0.5 million hectare from the previous season’s 0.42 million hectare.
Oil seeds’ cultivation area (mainly mustard seeds) too enhanced from 0.24 million hectare to 0.28 hectare. Sugarcane, the main winter crop in the southern part of Gujarat too witnessed higher acreage from 0.1 million hectare to 1.14 million hectare. Tobacco’s sowing too increased from nearly 40,000 hectare to more than 70,000 hectare till November end. Progressive area under cultivation of cumin has crossed 1,13,000 hectare this winter season compared to 63,100 hectare last season during the period.
“Acreage of kharif groundnut and cotton has decreased in the state. As a result, farmers have more land for rabi sowing. Due to the extended monsoon, the ground water table in most parts of the state is high which would be helpful for farmers,” says Dr LK Dhaduk, agriculture scientist.
As per the official figures, sowing of garlic, onion, potato, isabgol or psyllium husk, fennel, vegetables and fodders is also marginally higher than previous season. On an average, winter sowing in Gujarat remains at around 4.5 million hectare as per the official government data. Due to favourable weather conditions, it may touch nearly 5 million hectare, said a senior official citing higher prices across agriculture commodities.