Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Only 24.8 lakh hectares has come under cultivation till date due to an erratic monsoon and deficit rainfall in eighteen districts of the State this year. This is a marginal increase over the 23.43 lakh hectares sown during the corresponding period in 2008.

The Agriculture Department has stated that the sowing lagged behind due to poor rainfall of 117.7 mm up to Wednesday, showing a 39 per cent shortfall for the entire State. Such a huge deficit in rain has never been witnessed in the last decade. The rainfall deficit ranged from 20 to 99 per cent in the districts of East and West Godavari, Krishna, Prakasam, Nellore, Anantapur, Kadapa, Chittoor, Nizamabad, Warangal, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Ranga Reddy, Hyderabad, Mahabubnagar, Khammam, Guntur, Nalgonda and Medak.

Major crops

Some of the major crops like paddy and groundnut were sown in less than 25 per cent of their regular cultivation. At 2.16 lakh hectares out of the season’s normal of 25.53 lakh hectares, the area sown under paddy was also the least in the decade.

The sowing was less than 25 per cent of the normal area in East and West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Kurnool, Anantapur, Kadapa, Khammam and Nalgonda. Besides, pests and diseases of low intensity affected cotton, groundnut, maize and paddy crops in Prakasam, Krishna, West Godavari and Chittoor districts in the last week.