New Delhi: Area sown under kharif crops was down by 27% at 234.33 lakh hectare amid deficient monsoon rainfall last month, according to the latest government data.

However, the sowing operation is expected to pick-up in the coming days as the Indian Metereological Department (IMD) has projected good rains in July and August. Besides, the government has announced significant hike in the minimum support price of 14 notified kharif crops.

Sowing of kharif crops begin with the onset of southwest monsoon, which this year arrived late delaying the sowing operation and rainfall remained deficient by 33%, according to the IMD data.

According to the latest sowing data released by the Agriculture Ministry, area under Kharif cultivation was only 234.33 lakh hectare till last week of the kharif season of 2019-20 crop year (July-June), as against last year's 319.68 lakh hectare.

Rice, the main kharif crop, was sown in 52.47 lakh hectare till last week, down from 68.60 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.

Less area was reported from Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh, among others.

Pulses, especially tur, urad and moong, were sown in very less area at 7.94 lakh hectare as against 27.91 lakh hectare, while coarse cereals were planted in 37.37 lakh hectare as against 50.65 lakh hectare last year, the data showed.

Less area under pulses was reported from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, among others.

In case of oilseeds, the area sown to groundnut, sunflower and soyabean was lower at 34.02 lakh hectare till last week, as against 59.37 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.

Among cash crops, sugarcane was sown in about 50 lakh hectare so far close to 51.41 lakh hectare covered in the year-ago period.

Sowing of cotton and jute was also lagging behind. Area planted to cotton crop was lower at 45.85 lakh hectare so far, when compared with 54.60 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.

Jute was sown only in 80 lakh hectare as against 7.15 lakh hectare in the same period, the data showed.

Last week, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said there is no cause of concern about monsoon as the IMD has pegged normal rainfall. However, the government is keeping a close watch on the deficient rainfall situation.

During the week ending 10 July, IMD has projected normal rainfall over most parts of East Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northeast Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, northeastern states and normal to above normal over south Peninsular India.

It is very likely to be normal to below normal over remaining parts of the country during the week, it said.

Whereas during the week ending 17 July, the IMD said, there would be normal rainfall over some parts of Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, most parts of East Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and along the west coast and many parts of northeastern states. It is very likely to be normal to below normal over remaining parts of the country during this week.

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