Normal rains boost kharif prospects

Normal rains boost kharif prospects

New Delhi: India has received nearly 92% of its monsoon rainfall, 3% more than what is normal for this time of the year, even as kharif crops entered, what agricultural experts call, the “last phase of sowing."

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said although the rainfall is usually subdued during this time of the year, “there’s a good chance that we get 100% of the seasonal normal (870mm) within the next (few) days, “ said B. P. Yadav, spokesperson for the IMD.

According to data released by the agriculture ministry on Saturday, the area coverage of kharif crops as compared with 14 September last year has gone up considerably for several cash crops, though it was only marginal for rice.

Total coverage of kharif rice, one of the major crops, rose from 355.16 lakh hectare (ha) last year to 355.73 lakh ha. The sowing has reached its final stage in Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Most noteworthy is the jump in the area under pulses, 121.25 lakh ha against 110.35 lakh ha same time last year. “That’s an almost 10% jump, whereas the usual trend has been a 2-3% increase in the area under pulses cover since the mid-1990s," said I. P. S. Ahlawat, chief agronomist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.