Kharif sowing picks up, overall area now down just 1.3 pct

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New Delhi | Published: August 25, 2018 4:13:57 AM

The country's rice production this kharif season may be at par with the previous year's level as the sowing area under paddy has increased a lot in the past month, covering the initial deficit caused by deficient monsoon rainfall in the eastern region.

 

rice production, kharif cropRice production in the last kharif season was at record 96.39 million tonne. (Reuters)

The country’s rice production this kharif season may be at par with the previous year’s level as the sowing area under paddy has increased a lot in the past month, covering the initial deficit caused by deficient monsoon rainfall in the eastern region. However, the acreage of bajra and ragi, two crops for which MSP hikes were the highest, continues to trail the year-ago level as the overall kharif sowing nears the end.

The area under paddy has reached 356.83 lakh hectare as of August 24, down just 0.75% from the year-ago period, the agriculture ministry said on Friday. The fall in paddy acreage was 12% as of July 27 on a year-on-year basis.

Rice production in the last kharif season was at record 96.39 million tonne.

The government in April fixed the kharif rice output target at 98 million tonne after the India Meteorological Department predicted a normal monsoon for this year.

The area sown under paddy in major rice-producing states of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh is either same as was last year or higher. However, the acreage has declined in Bihar and Jharkhand. The fall in paddy area in Bihar is nearly 8% while its is about 18% in Jharkhand. Normally, farmers shift to some short-duration pulses or coarse cereals from paddy and maize during deficient rainfall.

The overall kharif area for all crops is only 1.28% less from the year-ago level and by the time sowing ends, the acreage will be either same as last year or even more in all major crops, agriculture secretary SK Pattanayak said.

“The area under urad may not catch up as many farmers in Madhya Pradesh have shifted to soyabean on good prices. There will not be any problem for other pulses as sowing window in north interior Karnataka and Marathwada is still there,” Pattanayak said, adding that the tur acreage might even go up. The area under urad is down by 13% while tur is at same level till August 24 from the corresponding period last year, data show.

According to the National Collateral Management Services, a leading post-harvest management company, India’s kharif rice production may see a 0.4% increase at 96.8 million tonne this year. The company, which is the only one in the private sector that releases production estimates of major crops, will update its forecast next month. The government’s production estimates of kharif crops will be released in the third week of September.

Meanwhile, 77% of the country’s total area has received normal or excess rains since June 1 while the remaining 23% areas are deficient, according to the IMD.


Apart from the north-eastern states, Bihar, Jharkhand, the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh, north interior Karnataka and the Saurashtra region of Gujarat have received deficient rainfall during June 1-August 24.

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