Monsoon covers entire country; to boost Kharif sowing

"The wide-spread monsoon will boost all Kharif crops. Sowing of basmati and non-basmati rice will start picking up in Punjab and Haryana. The government had discouraged early sowing in these two states due to delayed monsoon," All India Rice Exporters Association President Vijay Sethia said.

Aromatic basmati rice is grown largely in Punjab, Haryana and some parts of Uttar Pradesh.

In its weather bulletin released today, the India Meteological Department said: "Southwest monsoon has advanced towards remaining parts of Rajasthan today and thus covered the entire country about 10 days earlier than normal date."

Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over coastal Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, South Orissa, Gujarat, East Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, West Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh during the next 48 hours, IMD said.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had said yesterday that area under Kharif crops is likely to be higher than the last two years if there is adequate rainfall in July as projected.

"The annual rains have reached major parts of the country. This will further encourage paddy sowing," Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) Director P K Adhya said.
Paddy sowing is gaining momentum in West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, he said.

In Punjab, farmers have transplanted paddy sprouts using irrigation and monsoon will aid their growth, Adhya added.

So far, paddy has been sown in about 4.64 million hectare, which is slightly higher than 4.54 million hectare in the year-ago period, according to the official data.

The government has kept a target to cover paddy in 40 million hectare during the 2010-11 Kharif season, against 36 million hectare in 2009-10.

Sowing in the Kharif season begins with the onset of southwest monsoon in June and continues till September. Paddy sowing in the Kharif season is crucial as more than 80 per cent of the country's rice is grown in this period.

Sethia had earlier said that rice production will touch a record 100 million tonnes in 2010-11 if there is a favourable monsoon this year. Output declined to 89.31 million tonnes in 2009-10 from record 99.18 million tonnes in the previous year.

Pulses area is also expected to go up by 10 per cent as farmers got a good price for their crop last year. However, industry expects area under soyabean to decline as farmers are still holding 12.5 million tonnes of stock from last year's crop hoping for better prices.

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