Sowing of paddy, coarse cereals lagging behind: Govt

Sowing of paddy, coarse cereals lagging behind: Govt

Sowing of paddy, maize, bajra and oilseeds is trailing behind but pulses has picked up so far in the ongoing kharif (summer) season, the Agriculture Ministry said today.

The sowing of kharif crops like paddy, pulses and oilseeds begins from April but gains momentum after the onset of South-West monsoon in June. Due to delayed monsoon, sowing of some crops has been affected.

"Though sowing of rice, coarse cereals and oilseeds is lagging behind, sowing of pulses has picked up and is now sown in 66,000 hectares more than this time last year," an official statement said.

As on today, farmers have sown pulses in 13.04 lakh hectares, up by 66,000 hectares in the same period last season, it said.

Whereas rice has been sown in 55.40 lakh hectare, coarse cereals in 21.95 lakh hectare and oilseeds in 26.55 lakh hectare so far in the kharif season, it said.

Earlier this week, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had said that 31 per cent deficit rainfall so far has impacted sowing of coarse cereals like maize, bajra and jowar, but situation is "not worrisome" in case of paddy -- a major kharif crops.

He had said the situation is not "that serious" and the production of rain-fed rice crop is unlikely to be affected as monsoon is expected to better from next week.

Monsoon rains are crucial for the country's agriculture as only 40 per cent cultivable area is irrigated. On the back of good monsoon, India produced a record 252.56 million tonnes of foodgrains in the 2011-12 crop year (July to June).

Rice production stood at record 103.41 million tonnes last year, out of which 90.75 million tonnes were grown in kharif.

As far as commercial crops are concerned, the Agriculture Ministry said sugarcane has been planted in 52.78 lakh hectare so far, against 55.36 lakh hectares in the same period last season. Area planted to cotton has risen to 46.61 lakh hectare from 50.39 lakh hectares in the reviewed period.

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