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Deficient monsoon hits kharif sowing

UMBRELLAS OUT BUT NOT MUCH RAIN: Shepherds with a herd of sheep waiting for some good showers at a village in Mirzapur on Friday. - PTI PHOTO

UMBRELLAS OUT BUT NOT MUCH RAIN: Shepherds with a herd of sheep waiting for some good showers at a village in Mirzapur on Friday. - PTI PHOTO  

Deficient south-west monsoon rain in parts of the country has hit kharif sowing operations, particularly pulses, coarse cereals, oilseeds and cotton. Sowing has been hit in parts of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Kharif sowing begins in June, informed sources pointed out.

Paddy sowing, however, picked up last week with the total area sown so far at 154.70 lakh hectares against 154.20 lakh hectares cultivated in the corresponding period last year.

According to the India Metrological Department, the country received good rain in June, but by July 13 it had received 19 per cent less rain than the Long Period Average. As per statistics released by the Union Agriculture Ministry on Friday, a higher acreage of paddy was reported from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Bihar. However, paddy sowing is lagging over last year's corresponding period in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Gujarat, West Bengal and Haryana.

Scientists have advised farmers to irrigate their paddy fields every four to five days to keep the fields wet.

The area under pulses is down by 4.13 lakh hectares due to lesser sowing in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Rajasthan, however, has reported the highest acreage so far in the season. The average acreage is reportedly lower in arhar, moong and kulthi.

In the case of coarse cereals, the area sown so far is only 125.20 lakh hectares, compared to 141.42 lakh hectares cultivated this time last year. The shortfall is mainly due to lower acreage in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Bihar and West Bengal.

Oilseeds are slightly lower at 129.75 lakh hectares. It was 130.47 lakh hectares in the corresponding period last year. Compared to 97.01 lakh hectares sown under cotton last year, only 93.45 lakh hectares were cultivated this year — mainly due to lesser coverage in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

There is an improvement in the area under sugarcane. It is higher by 2.70 lakh hectares over last year.

On the upside, the total live storage in 81 important reservoirs is reported to be higher by 11.394 billion cubic metres than last year's storage in the corresponding period.

The sources said sowing would pick up as monsoon rain improves.

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