New Delhi: Sowing of monsoon-dependent kharif crops has been completed in nearly 94 million hectares, or 89% of the normal area, shows data released by the agriculture ministry on Friday.

However, sowing of kharif crops is only marginally higher than last year’s 92.9 million hectares, due to a weakening monsoon, the data show.

Till Friday, the south-west monsoon, which irrigates more than half of India’s farm land, recorded a deficit of 9% of the long-period average. India Meteorological Department, the government forecaster, has predicted a 16% deficit for the second half of the monsoon, spanning across August and September.

Overall, the June-September monsoon season will see a 12% deficit, according to the forecast. Till now, the rain deficit is most pronounced in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra—a shortfall of 46%. Also, parts of Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are dealing with deficit showers.

Data from the agriculture ministry shows that rice, the main kharif crop, has been planted in 33.4 million hectares, higher than the 33.2 million hectares sown by this time last year. Sowing of rice so far is 86% of the seasonal (normal) area of 38.8 million hectares.

Weakening monsoons have dented hopes of higher area under pulses and oilseeds this year, shows the data. Pulses have been sown in 10.2 million hectares, compared with the 9.2 million hectares sown by this time last year. As on date, the area under pulses is 94% of the normal area of 10.8 million hectares.

Similarly, oilseeds have been sown in 16.8 million hectares, over 92% of the normal area of 18.2 million hectares. And coarse cereals have been sown so far in 16.8 million hectares, over 83% of the normal area.

Sowing of cotton is nearing completion, but a dip in acreage is likely due to lower prices and poor rainfall in rain-fed cotton-growing areas. So far, the fibre crop has been sown in 11 million hectares, lower than the 11.9 million hectares sown by this time last year.

Four states that produce more than one-third of India’s foodgrain, and five crops that add up to more than a quarter of the production of grains and oilseeds, are vulnerable to this year’s deficit monsoons, Crisil Research said in a report on Wednesday.

The report, titled Angsty Farms, analysed rainfall data using a deficient rainfall impact parameter to show that Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, and jowar, soyabean, tur, maize and cotton will be hurt most by deficient rains.

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