Farmers in Maharashtra have completed sowing on 139.10 lakh hectares for the current kharif season, which adds up to 92% of the total sowing operations, according to the latest sowing report of the Department of Agriculture, Financial Express reports. The average area under kharif crops in the state is 151.33 lakh hectares along with sugarcane.
Last year, the state had completed sowing on nearly 137.23 lakh hectares by August 10. Excluding sugarcane, the sown area was around 136.01 lakh hectares, accounting for nearly 95.80% of the total sowing operations.
According to the report, crops have been damaged in Konkan, Kolhapur, Amravati, Pune and Nagpur divisions. Due to long breaks in monsoon and subsequent heavy rains, various pests and diseases have also attacked the crops.
Soybean growers, especially in Marathwada, are concerned about mosaic virus, as well as infestation of pink and American bollworm.
The agriculture department has issued advisories for preventive measures to be taken to tackle the pest problem. Soybean growers from Amravati, Latur and Osmanabad districts have reported the attack of mosaic virus. Maize farmers in the state have also faced fall army worm infestation.
Pink and American bollworm infestation in cotton fields continues to be a major problem. Some cotton fields in Marathwada and Vidarbha have reported infestation of this pest.
The state Agriculture Commissioner recently chaired a high-level meeting of various experts on the issue of virus attacks on tomato crop as growers in Maharashtra have reported major crop loss due to the attack of mosaic virus in the last two years. The government has also reported fall army worm infestation on jowar, powdery mildew on cotton, camel larvae on soybean and weevils on paddy crop in parts of the state. Meanwhile, soybean has now overtaken cotton to become the number one crop in the state and has been sown on 44.73 lakh hectares. Last year, soybean was sown on some 42 lakh hectares.