NATIONAL

Shortfall in sowing of pulses, coarse cereals

Sowing of kharif rice has surged ahead of last year's level by 23.98 lakh hectares but the area under pulses and coarse cereals is lagging mainly due to deficient rain in parts of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

A meeting of the Crop and Weather Watch Group in the Union Agriculture Ministry over the weekend was informed that the area under rice is 298.50 lakh hectares compared with 274.52 lakh hectares in the corresponding period last year. A higher area is reported from West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Haryana. Sowing is lower than last year in Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.

Compared with last year, the area under pulses is lower by 11.26 lakh hectares at 84.49 lakh hectares mainly because of lesser area sown in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.

The area under arhar is reported to be 31.26 lakh hectares as against 37.33 lakh hectares, while coverage of moong is 19.94 lakh hectares compared with 22.5 lakh hectares last year. The area under kulthi and other kharif pulses is also reported to be lower than last year.

In the case of coarse cereals there is a shortfall of 18.17 lakh hectares in comparison to last year, on account of lesser area cultivated in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Bihar and West Bengal. As against 193.6 lakh hectares last year, only 174.91 lakh hectares has been sown this year. However, cultivation of oilseeds, sugarcane and cotton has improved this season.

The area under oilseeds is 168.89 lakh hectares as against 159.59 lakh hectares in the corresponding period last year mainly due to higher cultivation of soyabean. The coverage of groundnut is lower as there has been less rain in major groundnut growing States such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat.

The area under sugarcane is higher by 2.35 lakh hectares and the cultivation of oilseeds is more by 6.30 lakh hectares. In comparison with last year, the area under cotton is higher by 8.18 lakh hectares due to better coverage in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

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