The delayed southwest monsoon has helped to reduce the gap in kharif acreage but production of coarse cereals is expected to be 10-15 per cent lower than in a normal year (average of five years), according to preliminary estimates. The total sowing area is reported to be lower by 8.96 lakh hectares than in a normal year.

According to Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna, “The shortfall in kharif will be made up in rabi. The delayed rain is good for moisture retention in soil and we expect good acreage under jowar, bajra, mustard and gram in the coming rabi season.”

However, the erratic monsoon is likely to impact production of coarse cereals, moong and arhar dals and groundnut what with delayed or unsown crop in parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Sounding a note of optimism, Mr. Bahuguna said: “The monsoon has not started withdrawing yet and the sowing season is still on.’’

So far the area under paddy is higher by 11.38 lakh hectares than in a normal year.

But the area under coarse cereals is lower by 28.39 lakh hectares, pulses by 3.44 lakh hectares and oilseeds by 0.63 lakh hectares.

The area under sugarcane and cotton is high compared to a normal year.

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