Paddy sowing areas increased despite lean monsoon across country

By Jitendra Chaubey

Despite the deficit rainfall across the country, the kharif sowing areas have strangely increased compared to the previous year. The sowing area of rice and coarse grains has increased while pulses, oilseeds, and non-food crops like cotton, Jute and mesta decreased.

Kharif sowing season is coming to an end and it needs rain to sustain, especially Paddy.

Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department said that the southwest monsoon may revive in a few days which would further improve the sowing of kharif crops.

India’s rice sowing touched 398.08 lakh hectares (LHa) which is up 3.73% from 383.79 LHa, a year ago. Despite drought-like conditions prevailing in major parts of the country, a dramatic increase in rice sowing acreage has covered the other crops’ reduced sowing areas. The total kharif sowing was reported to reach 1077 LHa which is more than 4.6 LHa than previous year.

By the end of August, India experienced a deficit of -10% rainfall since June 1. The August rainfall was historically lowest, with a deficit of -36%.

However, the sowing areas of pulses is a concern. The pulses sowing area is reduced by 8.5%, reaching 119.09 LHa from 130.13 LHa a year ago. The current pulse sowing area is 18% less than normal sowing.

If we look into the details of the reduction of pulses sowing areas, we found that Arhar/Tur pulses were reduced by 5.7% followed by Urad pulses by 13.5%, and Moong pulses by 7.7%.

Even oilseed sowing areas are down at 190.11 LHa from 191.91 Lha a year ago. Except for Soybean, there are reductions in all oilseeds including groundnut, sunflower, sesamum, Niger, and Castor.  

The soybean sowing has reached 125.13 LHa compared to the previous year’s 123.91 LHa. Even the normal sowing of soybeans in the kharif season stood at 117 LHa.

In the non-food category, except for Sugarcane other crops such as cotton and Jute and mesta sowing acreage reduced.  

India’s cotton sowing has reduced by over 2% compared to the previous year, standing at 122.99 LHa while sugarcane sowing areas increased by 7.6% than the previous year. The sugarcane acreage has already increased to normal yearly sowing areas of 48.85 LHa.

A good rainfall in July has increased the Kharif sowing, especially paddy. But now, scarce rainfall in August has put the sowed standing crops under threat. Experts say it may lead to lower yields of all Kharif crops including Paddy. However, the IMD forecast of reactivation of monsoon rainfall by September 3 will improve the sowing pulses and oilseeds.

This article has been republished from The New Indian Express

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