Concerned over delayed sowing of kharif crops: Agri Min

Photo credit: Reuters

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday expressed concern over the delay in sowing due to deficient rains but said there is still time for planting of Kharif (summer-sown) crops.

The Centre is in touch with the states to jointly tackle the situation if there is any drought-like situation.

"Delay in sowing of Kharif crops is a cause of concern. There is still time for farmers to complete sowing operations," Tomar told reporters on the sidelines of State Agriculture Ministers conference' held here.

The area under Kharif crops has declined by 27 per cent at 234.33 lakh hectare till last week of the ongoing Kharif season of 2019-20 crop year (July-June), as against last 319.68 lakh hectares in the same period last year.

"We are in touch if there is any drought-like situation, we (centre and States) will work together," Tomar said.

Asked about expected Kharif crop production, he said it is too early to comment.

The Indian Metereological Department (IMD) has projected good rains in July and August which could boost sowing operations.

Sowing of kharif crops begin with the onset of the southwest monsoon, which this year arrived late delaying the sowing operation and rainfall remained deficient by 33 per cent, according to the IMD data.

Rice, the main Kharif crop, was sown in 52.47 lakh hectare till last week, down from 68.60 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.

Less area was reported from Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh, among others.

Pulses, especially tur, urad and moong, were sown in very less area at 7.94 lakh hectare as against 27.91 lakh hectare, while coarse cereals were planted in 37.37 lakh hectare as against 50.65 lakh hectare last year, the data showed.

Less area under pulses was reported from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, among others.

In case of oilseeds, the area was sown to groundnut, sunflower and soybean were lower at 34.02 lakh hectare till last week as against 59.37 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.

Among cash crops, sugarcane was sown in about 50 lakh hectare so far close to 51.41 lakh hectare covered in the year-ago period.

Sowing of cotton and jute was also lagging behind. Area planted to cotton crop was lower at 45.85 lakh hectare so far, when compared with 54.60 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.

Jute was sown only in 80 lakh hectare as against 7.15 lakh hectare in the same period, the data showed. 

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