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Kharif sowing picks up pace as monsoon rains in normal range

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With the monsoon being active over southern, central and western regions over the last one week, sowing of Kharif crops such as paddy, pulses, oilseeds, coarse cereals and cotton has picked up pace.

According to agriculture ministry data released on Friday, Kharif crops have been sown in 40.66 million hectare (MH)) which is about 9% less than corresponding period last year. The shortfall in area covered under Kharif crops in relation to 2021 on June 24 was 24%.

Among major kharif crops, acreage of pulses is marginally higher than last year. Cotton sowing has been close to the same period last year and coarse cereals marginally higher.

Sugarcane sowing is reported at 5.3 MH which is at part with the previous year.

Sowing of oilseeds including soyabean and groundnut has been lagging behind by 19% at 7.7 MH compared to the same period last year. However according to official data, soyabean has been sown in 5.4 MH so far while Soybean Processor Association of India says variety of oilseed has been sown in 7 MH.

Rice sowing progress has been lagging behind by more than 22% compared to last year.

An agriculture ministry official said  the window for sowing of Kharif crops is till the end of July and pace of sowing will pick up pace further in coming weeks. Kharif crops are sown around 106 MH.

The adequate and well distributed rainfall during monsoon months (June-September) helps in boosting kharif crop production besides ensuring sufficient moisture for the rabi crops.

In April, 2022, the government had set a record foodgrain production target of 328 million tonne (MT) in the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) against 314 MT of production in 2021-22, as per the third advance estimate of foodgrain output.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its forecast on Friday said “active monsoon conditions over central India and along west coast are likely to continue during next five days and increase of rainfall over Northwest India during next three days,”.

 The monsoon has picked up pace since June 16 when deficiency in monsoon rains was 25%.

 A Met department official said that the monsoon has been active over the central, west and southern region in the last one week.  During June 1-July 8, the cumulative average monsoon rainfall was 234.5 mm, which was 2% more than the normal bench mark of 230.4 mm for the same period.

Only the east and northeast and south peninsula regions of the country have received 4% and 13% more monsoon rainfall than normal volume so far. Cumulative deficiency in rain over central India and north and northeast India was reported at only 4% and 3% respectively.

On May 31, the IMD said monsoon rains this year will be more than what it had forecast in April at 103% of the benchmark long-period average (LPA), with 81% chance of rainfall being either “normal” or above.

In its forecast for June, the IMD has predicted a normal rainfall in the range of 92-108 % of LPA.

Meanwhile, the average water level in 143 major reservoirs in the country at present is less by 5% on year, the Central Water Commission said. The water level is also 21% higher than the average of the last 10 years.

Reservoirs currently have 53.64 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water, which is about 30% of their combined capacity. A year ago, 56.25 BCM water was available in these reservoirs, while the average of the last 10 years is 44.22 BCM, according to the latest CWC note.

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