Paddy acreage still down by 13%, triggers output concerns

The area under paddy — the biggest foodgrain during the kharif season — was almost 13 per cent lower in the week ended August 5 as compared to the same period last year despite a slight pick-up in rains in the main growing regions, triggering fears of a 10-12 million-tonne drop in final output.

With 30 per cent of normal average area in which paddy is grown every year remaining unsown till early August, there is a limited chance of a big uptick in output, trade and market sources said.  In several states, farmers have already moved on to other short-duration crops such as pulses and coarse cereals abandoning paddy.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), between June 1 and August 8, the southwest monsoon is around 7 per cent more than normal (cumulatively across the country).

Less paddy acreage has been reported from West Bengal (1.2 million hectares), Jharkhand (0.93 million hectares), Bihar (0.48 million hectares) and Chhattisgarh (0.43 million hectares). However, in major paddy-growing states of UP (-40 per cent), West Bengal (-25 per cent), Jharkhand (-48 per cent), Bihar (-35 per cent) and Odisha (-9 per cent), the rains are woefully short.

Together, the five states account for more than 40 per cent of India’s total annual rice production, estimated to be over 120 million tonnes. India, the world’s second-largest producer and top exporter of rice, commands a 40 per cent share in global rice trade.

However, the acreage under coarse cereals, oilseeds, cotton, sugarcane and jute as well as mesta is higher till August 5, 2022, as compared to last year. For most crops, the sowing is almost over.

Data showed that the acreage of coarse cereals increased to 16.03 million hectares up from 15.44 million hectares. Oilseeds sowing area was up at 17.47 million hectares till August 8, from 17.38 million hectares last year. Cotton sowing increased to 12.12 million hectares, up from 11.35 million hectares. Total area under coverage for all kharif crops was down at 90.86 million hectares till August 5, against 93.66 million hectares during the same period last year.

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