Farmers shift away from arhar, soybean towards cotton
New Delhi: Taking price signals from last year, farmers have cut down area under arhar and soybean and increased planting of cotton, shows data on progress of Kharif sowing released by the agriculture ministry on Friday.
Sowing of arhar or pigeon pea is lower by 19% compared to last year, the data shows. While the area under soybean is lower by 18%, plantings of cotton are higher by 20%. Prices of both arhar and soybean plunged below minimum support prices (MSP) announced by the government following a record Kharif harvest last year on the back of a normal monsoon.
If the trend of lower planting of arhar persists, India could be back to scouting for the pulse in countries like Myanmar and Mozambique like it did during 2015-16 when a severe drought cut domestic output.
Sowing of kharif crops begins in June and continues through July as the monsoon progresses across the country. During the kharif season, farmers typically plant around 106 million hectares. The data shows that farmers have planted 68.5 million hectares under different Kharif crops so far, about 2% higher than the year before.
The June-September south-west monsoon, which waters over half of India’s farms lacking assured irrigation, has so far seen 2% surplus rains compared to the normal 50-year or long-period average, the India meteorological department (IMD) said on Friday.