New Delhi: Boosted by ample rains, sowing of Kharif crops this year has been completed in 96% of the seasonal area with record sowing of pulses, data released by the agriculture ministry on Friday showed. So far, 101.9 million hectares have been planted under different Kharif crops, 4.7% higher than the area sown by this time last year.
So far, a record 13.9 million hectares have been planted under different pulses varieties, 40.5% more than the normal area covered by this time of the year, and substantially higher than the seasonal area of 10.8 million hectares.
Higher sowing of Kharif pulses like arhar (pigeon pea) and urad (black gram) will help tame prices which shot up over the past year due to deficit rains impacting production in 2014 and 2015.
Data shows that sowing of cotton is 11% lower than the area normally sown under the fibre crop by this time of the year. So far, an area of 10.2 million hectares have been planted under cotton compared to the normal area of 11.6 million hectares. Lower sowing has been reported from major cotton-growing states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, where the crop bore the brunt of pest attacks last year.
Rice, the main kharif crop, has been planted in 36.3 million hectares so far, nearly 4% higher than the as-on-date normal area, while coarse grains have been planted in 18.3 million hectares, about 3.5% higher than the normal area, the data shows.
Sowing of oilseeds in 17.7 million hectares is also 1.7% higher when compared to the area normally covered by this time of the year.
The better-than-normal progress of sowing this year is due to ample rains across India. Data from state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) shows that the rainfall recorded till Friday in the ongoing June-to-September south-west monsoon season is deficient by only 3% compared to the long period average. About 87% of India has received normal to excess rainfall so far.