Contrary to expectations that the cropping area under pulses might shrink this year following a sharp fall in prices, the area sown at 18.8 lakh hectares (till June 30) is surprisingly 44% higher than the 13.04 lakh hectares in 2016-17. The acreage under cotton too has risen sharply to 46.10 lakh hectares, from 19.07 lakh hectares last year.
However, these are early days since the sowing season has just got off to a start. A reasonably good monsoon in June appears to have resulted in an overall increase in the total sown area to 222.3 lakh hectares. Agriculture experts say the good rains together with the hike in the minimum support prices for pulses may have motivated farmers to sow more.
The total production of pulses in 2016-17 (based on the third advance estimates) is 22.40 million tonnes, up from 16.35 million tonnes in 2015-16. Prices have fallen since January by about 30-35% with arhar witnessing the sharpest fall.
The government procured 1 million tonnes of arhar in 2016-17 of the total production of 4.6 million tonnes.
As in past years, the government has decided to pay a bonus, over and above the MSP recommended by the CACP, to incentivise the cultivation of pulses. The bonus amounts are more or less similar to those paid last year at Rs 400 per quintal for arhar and urad. Consequently, the rise in the MSP for arhar is around 8% at Rs 5,450 per quintal while for urad too the increase is 8% at Rs 5,400 per quintal.
The total sown area as on June 30 as per reports received from states stands at 222.3 lakh hectares compared with 187.03 lakh hectares at this time last year.