The kharif acreage so far has been more than 9% lower than at same point of time in the year-ago season after monsoon was stalled for about 15 days. Now that the meteorological department is predicting revival of the monsoon from Saturday, the sowing activities may pick up in the coming days and the acreage could even surpass last year’s, government sources said.
The data released by agriculture ministry show that sowing area under all the kharif crops including rice, pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals has declined to 11.6 million hectare as of June 22 against 12.84 million hectare in the corresponding period of previous year. India has received 10% lower than normal monsoon rainfall during June 1-22, weather bureau said.
“The initial sowing area was higher, but as the monsoon progress was stalled for a few days, the sowing activities got reduced. It is temporary and we are confident that the overall acreage will be more than what it was last year,” said agriculture secretary S K Pattanayak.
A normal monsoon, as predicted by the India Meteorological Department, will help the country to increase agricultural production after achieving a record 279.5 million tonne of foodgrains output in 2017-18 and maintain the pace of farm growth at least at 3%.
The monsoon progress has been almost stalled since June 9 after it covered parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal. There was some progress during June 9-13 only in few areas in south of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
The IMD has said that monsoon scenario is very likely to improve from around June 24 and conditions are favourable for further advance of the south-west monsoon over Assam, some more parts of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal and some parts of Jharkhand, Bihar region during June 23-25.
“It is a normal phenomenon in monsoon progress and hopefully the rainfall in the remaining period of this month will recover the losses so far,” said D S Pai, IMD’s head of the long-range forecast division in Pune.
He also said the rainfall in July, the wettest month during monsoon season, would be 101% of the long period average (LPA) for the month as predicted earlier.
The weather bureau has forecast monsoon rainfall during June-September to be 97% of the 89 cm LPA, with a model error of ±4%.
The sowing area under rice has declined at 1.07 million hectare as of June 22 from 1.12 million hectare in the corresponding period last year. Pulses acreage slipped to 0.6 million hectare from 0.8 million hectare and oilseeds down at 0.5 million hectare against 1 million hectare in this period under review.