Rice sowing has not progressed much after April 10 as farmers have been able to cover only 2.34 lakh hectares in last 50 days, taking the total acreage under the crop to 34.92 lakh hectares so far in the ongoing kharif season, according to official data released on Friday. However, the overall area sown under rice so far has gone up substantially when compared with 25.59 lakh hectares coverage in the same season last year.
Rice is the main kharif (summer) crop. More than 90 per cent of the country's total production of about 110-odd million tonnes comes from this season.
As per the latest data released by the Agriculture Ministry, rice was sown under 32.58 lakh hectares of farm land till April 10, and it touched 34.92 lakh hectares on Friday. This means, farmers were able to cover only 2.34 lakh hectares between April 10 and May 29.
It may be noted that sowing of rice and other kharif crops is being undertaken amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Although farm activities are exempted from lockdown rules, the reasons are not known yet for slow area coverage under rice.
But experts said that rice sowing normally picks up pace with the onset of southwest monsoon from July. The Met Department has forecast normal monsoon rains this year.
Otherwise, sowing of other kharif crops such as pulses, coarse cereals and oilseeds was progressing at a faster pace after April 10.
For instance, pulses acreage which stood at 3.97 lakh hectares till April 10 has now reached to 14.16 lakh hectares so far in this kharif season. This is much higher than 10.33 lakh hectares covered in the year-ago period.
Similarly, areas under coarse cereals stood at 5.54 lakh hectares till April 10 has now reached 10.50 lakh hectares now. Last year, it was covered in 7.77 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.
In case of oilseeds too, coverage stood at 6.66 lakh hectares till April 10 which has increased to 9.30 lakh hectares as on May 29 of this kharif season. Oilseeds was covered in 7.34 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.