As there is a shortfall in acreage of kharif crops
With drought conditions prevailing in parts of the northwest region of the country, it is feared that the shortfall in acreage of kharif coarse cereals and pulses will not be made up that will impact their production and push up prices.
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who toured parts of Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra, has scheduled another meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on drought next week to take stock of the situation. Last week, it announced an assistance of over Rs. 1,900 crore for the rain- deficient States and 50 per cent diesel subsidy for farmers drawing groundwater to save standing crop.
Decline in sowing
Even as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) declared on Friday that the southwest monsoon will be deficient by 15 per cent, the Agriculture Ministry said there was a decline in the sowing of paddy, coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds. The worst hit areas are in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The area under kharif crop is lower by 45.83 lakh hectares this year compared to a normal year. It is lower by 78.81 lakh hectares compared to last year.
The area under paddy is lower by 7.21 lakh hectares, compared to last year owing to lesser coverage in Haryana, West Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.
Coverage of coarse cereals is lower by 33.55 lakh hectares due to lesser sowing in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Lower sowing of pulses in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka has led to a decline in the acreage this year by 11.36 lakh hectares compared to last year.
Coverage of oilseeds is also lower by 0.31 lakh hectares over last year largely due to lower sowing in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and parts of Andhra Pradesh. The area under groundnut has been hit due to drought in parts of Karnataka and Gujarat. However, Soybean area is up at 10.32 million hectares.
However, the average water level in the 84 reservoirs monitored by the Central Water Commission has improved from about 55 per cent to 66 per cent of last year’s storage at this time.