New Delhi: The total sowing area of Kharif crops was down 7.5% to 73.8 million hectares in July compared to 79.8 million hectares during the same period last year.

Though the coverage area for sugarcane rose, for all other crops, including rice, pulses, coarse grains, oilseeds and cotton, it was lower. However, the difference in coverage area for some crops may reduce in the next two weeks, with a pick up in sowing activity.

Kharif plantings usually begin in June with the onset of the south-west monsoon and continues till early August.

The monsoon has so far seen a shortfall of just 3% compared to the 50-year average, but the overall deficit is masking its uneven geographical spread.

Deficient rainfall over parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal has led to 12.4% lower coverage area for rice compared to last year. The sowing area for pulses also fell by 8.7%. The 12.4% lower sowing for groundnut could, however, also be influenced by falling prices.

The ministry data also show that while planting of sugarcane, for which price and production risks are minimal, are 1.6% higher, while the area under cotton is 8% lower than last year. However, farmers have planted more soybean (6% more), given that they may fetch higher prices from exports to China.

Close