New Delhi: Cultivation of rain-fed Kharif crops has been completed in over 53% of the total area planted during the season, showed data released by the agriculture ministry on Friday.

So far 56.3 million hectares have been planted under different crops, 8% higher than the area planted by this time last year, and 12% higher than five-year averages.

Further, the numbers show higher planting for all crops such as rice, pulses, coarse grains, sugarcane and cotton, except oilseeds.

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 June-September south-west monsoon, which waters over half of India’s farms lacking assured irrigation, has so far seen a deficit of 1% compared to the normal 50-year or long-period average, the India meteorological department (IMD) said on Friday.

Southern India has seen a deficit of 11% followed by 7% and 5% deficits in central and eastern regions, respectively. States in north-western India, however, received 32% surplus rains compared to normal.

Data from the agriculture ministry showed that rice, the main kharif crop, has been sown in 12.6 million hectares so far, 5% higher than last year. While pulses have been sown in 7.5 million hectares, higher than the 6 million hectares last year, coarse grains have been planted in 11.3 million hectares, over 14% higher than the plantings by this time last year.

However, sowing of arhar or pigeon pea, a major Kharif pulse which farmers sold at less than support prices last year, is 9% lower than the year before. Planting of oilseeds such as soybean and groundnut is at 10.4 million hectares so far, 10% lower compared to last year. At 4.8 million hectares, planting of sugarcane is 6% higher than last year.

The data also showed that farmers are planting more of cotton this year: with 9 million hectares sown with the fibre crop so far, plantings are 23% higher than last year.