The Central government is keeping a close watch on the deficient rainfall situation in the country as the area sown this kharif season is down by 27 per cent, which can pose a serious challenge for the agriculture sector growth.
According to the latest data released by the agriculture ministry, the area under cultivation was only 234.33 lakh hectares till last week of the Kharif season of 2019-20 crop year (July-June), as against last year’s 319.68 lakh hectares.
Rice, the main Kharif crop, was sown in 52.47 lakh hectares till last week, down from 68.60 lakh hectares a year ago. Less area under cultivation was reported from Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh.
Pulses, especially tur daal, urad daal and moong daal, were sown in very less area at 7.94 lakh hectares as against 27.91 lakh hectares last year, while coarse cereals were planted in 37.37 lakh hectares as against 50.65 lakh hectares last year, the data showed.
Less area under cultivation of pulses was reported from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
In case of oilseeds, the area sown for groundnut, sunflower and soyabean were lower at 34.02 lakh hectares till last week, against 59.37 lakh hectares last year. Among cash crops, sugarcane was sown in about 50 lakh hectares so far, close to 51.41 lakh hectares covered a year ago. Sowing of cotton and jute also fell behind. The area for cotton plantation was lower at 45.85 lakh hectares so far, when compared to 54.60 lakh hectares last year. Jute was sown only in 80 lakh hectares as against 7.15 lakh hectares last year, data showed.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said there is no cause for worry about monsoon and that sowing is expected to pick-up in the coming days as good rains are predicted in July and August.
During the week ending July 10, the Indian Metereological Department has projected normal rainfall over most parts of East UP, northeast Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, northeastern states and normal to above normal over South Peninsular India.