The area sown with paddy rose marginally from that of the previous week, but was 23.95% less than in the corresponding period of last year, according to data collected by the Crop Division of the Union Agriculture Ministry till July 8.
The difference in the area coverage from the 2021 figure is 22.75 lakh hectares. Sowing of pulses such as black gram and yellow split pigeon pea has decreased, while the cultivation of green gram (moong dal) has increased by 37.47% and other pulses by 135.12%.
The Ministry has been maintaining that it is too early to suggest a decrease in paddy cultivation during this kharif season. Farmers’ organisations, on the other hand, have been claiming that scarcity of water and fertilisers is forcing farmers to reduce sowing. Till July 1, the decrease in area was about 27%.
Chhattisgarh showed a decrease of about 6.1 lakh hectares, while the area in Punjab is down by 4.8 lakh hectares and in Madhya Pradesh by 4.6 lakh hectares.
Madhya Pradesh showed the most decrease — by 22.4 lakh hectares — in the sowing of all kharif crops, while Rajasthan increased cultivation by about 25 lakh hectares till July 8.
On total oilseeds too, the decrease in cultivation is more than 20%. Groundnut and soyabean cultivation is down by 18.95% and 21.74%, respectively.
Farmers seem to have preferred sunflower during this kharif season as its cultivation has increased by about 43%, though the acreage is just about 1.16 lakh hectares.
Among coarse cereals, bajra has shown an increase of about 79.26%, while the cultivation of jowar, ragi, maize and small millets has reduced from last year’s.
The Centre has been asking the States to encourage farmers to cultivate paddy, citing the global demand for the foodgrain. It has been pushing for nutrition security by asking farmers to raise coarse cereals.
The increasing prices of edible oils due to import dependence had given tough moments for the Centre recently.