June rains boost kharif sowing
New Delhi: Ample rain in June has helped farmers sow more crops compared with last year, farm ministry data showed on Friday.
Sowing of summer crops have been completed in over 30 million hectares till date, 57% more than the area sown by this time last year.
The spike in this year’s sowing is due to good rain in June and the fact that last year saw a mostly dry June.
Till 25 June this year, the southwest monsoon was 28% more than the long-period average.
Since then, it has weakened, and the week between 26 June and 1 July recorded a 14% deficit.
Till Friday, the monsoon was 7% more than normal for the entire country (1 June to 3 July).
The June-November kharif crop season is critically dependent on the progress and spread of the southwest monsoon as over half of the farm land in India lacks assured irrigation.
Although sowing has been completed in over 30 million hectares, it is less than one-third of the normal sowing area of 105 million hectares.
The progress of sowing will, therefore, depend on showers during July and August, which, the government forecaster said, will be deficient.
For the entire monsoon season between June and September, the India Meteorological Department, or IMD, has predicted a 12% deficit, stoking fears of crop-loss and inflation.
Data released by the agriculture ministry show that rice, the main kharif crop, has been planted in 5.4 million hectares, marginally higher than the 5.3 million hectares sown by this time last year.
But the sowing of pulses, oilseeds and cotton has surpassed last year’s numbers.
Pulses have been sown in 2.26 million hectares so far, more than double the 0.97 million hectares sown by this time last year.
The high acreage under pulses could be on account of farmers taking a signal from the soaring prices in the market.
Similarly, oilseeds have been sown in 7.4 million hectares, more than five times the area sown by this time last year.
The area under coarse cereals is at nearly 4.4 million hectares, compared with 2.9 million hectares last year.
Area under cotton has also shot up, from 3.5 million hectares last year to 6 million hectares this year.