Sowing of pulses and oilseeds in Gujarat surges 140%; summer season sowing may cross 10 lakh hectare

Amid coronavirus pandemic, Gujarat is witnessing unprecedented rise of nearly 140 per cent in summer sowing with 9.57 lakh hectare being already sown in the state till Tuesday as compared to previous year’s 6.82 lakh hectare, reports Financial Express.

Sources in the state agriculture department said they were expecting further increase in sowing and according to their estimate, current summer season’s sowing may touch historic 10 lakh hectare.

Due to excellent monsoon, farmers in the state are getting adequate water for irrigation. Last year, irrigation water was released from Narmada dam till the beginning of April. Another important factor for increased coverage in sowing is the recession in diamond industry as well as ongoing lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic. Most of the labourers employed in diamond industry in Surat have returned to their native places and have engaged themselves in farming activities, according to sources from Gujarat State Agriculture Marketing Board.

According to the state agriculture department, area of groundnut sowing has increased from 28,060 hectare to 60,109 hectare, indicating an increase of almost 215 per cent. Sesame’s area under sowing has also augmented by nearly 310 per cent from 18, 887 hectare to 58,178 hectare.

There has also been considerable rise in sowing of cereal crops as sowing of paddy has gone up from 29,353 hectare to 54,941 hectare, showing a 188 per cent increase in sowing area. Sowing of bajra and maize, too, surged from 2,27,77 hectare and 3,095 ha to 2, 74,310 hectare and 6,141 ha, respectively.

Sowing of pulse crops of moong and udad, too, spiked from 21,210 hectare and 4,890 hectare to 44,557 hectare and 13,525 hectare, respectively.

There has been sharp rise in sowing of vegetables from 71,812 hectare to 91,363 hectare, indicating 130 per cent increase. Same is the case with fodder sowing area, which has surged by 125 per cent from 2, 65, 406 to 3,35, 284 hectare. According to sources in the state agriculture department, sowing of most crops has been completed but with easy availability of labourers as well as water, farmers are still sowing vegetables and fodder.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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