NEW DELHI: With the patchy progress of southwest monsoon rains, 8 percent below ‘normal’ at the pan-India level by July 6, sowing of kharif crops was 14 percent below the last year’s level as of Friday. Rice and cotton have been the most affected crops.
The rain deficiency in rice-growing West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh has been quite high and has had an adverse impact on sowing area of paddy, the main kharif crop with a share of nearly 60 percent in the normal acreage.Water levels at key reservoirs too are below the benchmark 10-year average touted to be normal, with the levels particularly low in north India, reports PTI.
However, the government reiterated on Sunday that last year’s record food grain output pf 279.51 million tonne would be surpassed this year. “The shortfall in acreage will be made up in the coming weeks. We will definitely exceed last year’s production,” agriculture secretary Shobhana Pattanayak told PTI. He expressed confidence that a “favourable monsoon” and higher MSPs would increase crop productivity.
West Bengal, the country’s largest producer of rice, and Chhattisgarh have received 22 percent and 21 percent below-normal rainfall, respectively, while Odisha got 30 percent less rains until July 6, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) data. Cotton sowing too has also been severely affected as the main growing region of Saurashtra in Gujarat has received large rain deficiency during the June 1-July 6 period.