Monsoon deficits in Bengal, UP hit sowing of paddy; cash crops get a boost

The southwest monsoon continues to be active over the south, central and western regions, while parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand are yet to get adequate rainfalls this season.

There were deficiencies in rainfall in western Uttar Pradesh (49%), eastern Uttar Pradesh (59%), Bihar (44%), West Bengal (47%) and Jharkhand (51%) against the benchmarks till Sunday. This has hit paddy sowing. The excess rainfall in the southern peninsula (32%), and central India (27%) so far have given a boost to sowing of pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals.

Last week, the government did not release official data on the progress of paddy sowing citing delay in getting reports from states. Experts say that the paddy sowing window will be over in the next couple days.

In the sowing data last released on July 15, paddy sowing area was reported at 12.8 million hectare (MH) which was 17% less than year ago level. Area under all summer crops including paddy, pulses, oilseeds, coarse cereals, sugarcane and cotton sown area were reported at 59.21 MH, marginally higher than corresponding period last year.

According to the agriculture ministry, oilseeds such as soyabean, groundnut and sesamum have been 5% up from the same period last year till Friday. Soyabean has been sown in 10.83 MH so far which is an increase of more than 9% than previous year. However, groundnut sowing has been close to 8% down compared to previous year.

Pulses have been sown in 6.5% more area than last year. Arhar, which constitutes the higher share in India’s import basket, sowing has been lagging behind by 20% so far. However, sowing of urad and moong has been up by more than 7% and 31% respectively so far. The cumulative rainfall received during June 1-July 24 was 422 mm, which was 11% more than the normal benchmark of 380 mm for the same period. Meanwhile, the average water level in 143 major reservoirs in the country till last Thursday was 43% more than a year ago, the Central Water Commission said. The water level was also 55% higher than the average of the last 10 years.

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