Sowing of kharif paddy has improved thanks to rain in some parts of the deficient areas, but it is still lower by 11.40 lakh hectares as compared to last year.
If compared with last year’s sowing — a record foodgrains production year — at this time of the year, the area under paddy, pulses, coarse cereals, oilseeds and cotton is still lower.
An inter-Ministerial group that reviewed the situation on Friday was informed that monsoon deficiency was 15 per cent with parts of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra continuing to face drought conditions.
Official figures show that kharif acreage is lower by 58.23 lakh hectares. Only sugarcane sowing has crossed last year’s level by 2.29 lakh hectares.
Rice acreage is lower by 11.40 lakh hectares, coarse cereals have dipped by 23.70 lakh hectares, pulses by 12.07 lakh hectares and oilseeds by 6.66 lakh hectares compared to last year.
However, if compared with a normal year (average of last five years) — which officials will like to — then the total acreage is lower by 12.50 lakh hectares with paddy, oilseeds, sugarcane and cotton sowing slightly higher.
Even then, sowing of coarse cereals remains behind by 30.01 lakh hectares owing to poor rain in parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Cultivation of pulses is lower by 11.80 lakh hectare at this time last year due to lower sowing in Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The good thing is that as a result of rain in parts of the country the reservoir position has improved. On Thursday, the average storage was nearly 82 per cent of last year’s storage in the 84 important reservoirs that are monitored.
The Government will still wait and watch the situation till the end of the month to see if acreage improves.