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Advancing monsoon spurs kharif sowing

LiveMint logoLiveMint 01-07-2017 Sayantan Bera

New Delhi: Sowing of rain-fed kharif crops has picked up pace with the advance of the four-month-long south-west monsoon, shows data released by the agriculture ministry on Friday. So far, farmers have planted 22.2 million hectares under different crops, nearly 19% higher than the 18.7 million hectares planted by this time last year.

Sowing of kharif crops begins in June and continues through July as the monsoon progresses across the country. During the kharif season, farmers typically plant around 106 million hectares. By this time of the year, the normal or five-year average of sowing area is 22 million hectares.

The June-September south-west monsoon, which waters over half of India’s farms lacking assured irrigation, has so far seen 4% more rains than the normal 50-year or long-period average, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday. Eastern and north-eastern India recorded a deficit of 18%, while rains were 50% above normal in north-western India. Southern and central India saw rains 8% and 5% above normal, respectively, IMD said.

Data from the agriculture ministry showed that rice, the main kharif crop, has been sown in 3.9 million hectares, similar to the planting by this time last year. While pulses have been sown in 1.9 million hectares, higher than the 1.3 million hectares last year, coarse grains have been planted in 3.8 million hectares, higher than the 3.5 million hectares last year.

Planting of oilseeds such as soybean and groundnut stands at 2.6 million hectares so far, lower than the 2.8 million hectares planted by this time last year. At 4.7 million hectares, planting of sugarcane is 6% higher than last year, the data shows.

The monsoon’s early onset has prompted farmers to bring more area under cotton, with 4.6 million hectares sown with the fibre crop so far, more than double the 1.9 million hectares planted by this time last year.

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