Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Saturday said there is a possibility of covering the shortfall in paddy sowing in the ongoing kharif season. As per the agriculture ministry’s latest data, area sown to paddy was down by 35.46 lakh hectare at 231.59 lakh hectare till June 29 of the ongoing kharif season, when compared to 267.05 lakh hectare in the year-ago period. The paddy sowing is down so far but there is a possibility to cover the shortfall, Tomar told PTI.
The paddy coverage is reported to be down in West Bengal (by 10.62 lakh hectare), Uttar Pradesh (6.68 lakh hectare), Bihar (5.61 lakh hectare), Jharkhand (4.72 lakh hectare), Telangana (4.06 lakh hectare) so far this kharif season, the data showed. The lower coverage under paddy has been reported in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Tripura and Assam as well. Paddy is the main kharif (summer) crop and more than 80 per cent of the country’s total rice production happens during this season.Sowing of kharif crops, including paddy, begins with the onset of southwest monsoon in June. The India Meteorological Department has projected a normal southwest monsoon this year.
The country as a whole received 10 per cent higher monsoon rains between June 1 and July 27 but 15 per cent deficit was reported in east and north-east India during the same period. Rains were deficient in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Mizoram and Manipur, as per IMD data. India is the world’s second largest producer and top exporter of rice.