Close to the end of the monsoon season, the sowing of kharif crops is still lagging by over 12 lakh hectares as compared to a normal year (average of five years), with the major shortfalls being in coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds. This follows the September 12 statement by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar that the output of kharif pulses, coarse cereals and oilseeds, particularly groundnut, would decrease this year.

Compared to last year, a record year of foodgrain production, the acreage under rice, coarse cereals, pulses, oilseeds and cotton is lagging and the total area is short by 55.62 lakh hectares.

Late monsoon withdrawal of no help

Despite the late withdrawal of the monsoon and the erratic distribution of rainfall resulting in floods in parts of the country, it is unlikely that the unsown areas in parts of Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat will be made up. Maharashtra, too, has reported that several talukas have received deficient rain.

The official data on crop position released on Friday shows that coarse cereals acreage has decreased by 28.48 lakh hectares than in a normal year, owing to less area reported in Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.

The area under pulses is lower by 3.16 lakh hectares due to a decline in sowing in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The area under oilseeds, too, has declined by 1.59 lakh hectares as lower sowing is reported from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Punjab.

Though cotton sowing is on a par compared to a normal year, its acreage in Gujarat has gone down this year.