Kharif sowing to pick up momentum in July

Sowing of summer crops in the first three weeks of the season has remained below last year’s levels in most parts of the country. Farmers are waiting for July showers too start the sowing in earnest all across the country.

While the southwest monsoon covered most of the country earlier than the normal schedule, causing sufficient precipitation to create a ground conducive for sowing, a slowdown of rains in June has been a dampener for sowing season to start in many areas of the country. While waterlogging occurred in a section of the area covered by monsoon, there was rainfall deficiency in some other parts.

The agriculture ministry is yet to start releasing the weekly sowing update even as nearly four weeks have passed since the onset of monsoon rains in the country on 3 June. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana have reported sluggishness in sowing activities. However, acreage of pulses and oilseeds which are sown in high-plateau regions were higher than the year ago period.

Usually, around 15-17% of kharif sowing gets competed in the first three weeks of the season. The sowing area of soyabean in Madhya Pradesh, the largest producer state, has been 10 times more than last year’s level at 8.17 lakh hectares. On the other hand, groundnut acreage in Gujarat, the biggest producing state, has seen a drop of 60% at 2,60,220 hectare, largely because monsoon rainfall has been 16% lower than normal in Saurashtra and Kutch regions.

Area under pulses in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana are higher this year. Acreage of arhar is significantly higher than the year-ago levels in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. In Uttar Pradesh, the kharif acreage of paddy and urad is higher while there has been a drop in bajra, moong, arhar and soyabean. Farmers in Maharashtra have completed sowing on 22.75 lakh hectares (16%) of the targeted area under cultivation for the current kharif season.

During 2020-21, total area sown under kharif crops was at 109.54 million hectares, as against 108.57 million hectares in 2019-20.

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