A “break” in the southwest monsoon early in June has affected Kharif sowing in many parts of the country this year. The overall coverage fell 10 per cent until July 8 compared with the same period a year ago.

Data released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on Friday showed that about 500 lakh hectares (lh) had been covered so far with various Kharif crops against 558 lh a year ago.

The monsoon set in late this year on June 3 and progressed rapidly before it paused. This happened just as it was to enter the northern and western parts of the country that are key to Kharif (Winer) production.

Monsoon’s “break” is the major reason for the slow progress in planting. From June 1 till now, the country has received a cumulative rainfall of 223.0 mm against the normal 234.5 mm, down 5 per cent. This is also reflected in the water storage in the 130 reservoirs across the country, 7 per cent lower than last year. In a good tiding for the Centre, the IMD has announced that the monsoon is reviving.

Some of the States reporting lower acreage are Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat and Maharashtra, besides Bihar and Jharkhand.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, paddy coverage, compared with the normal sowing, is lower in Haryana by over 1.25 lh, Chhattisgarh by 2.18 lh and Assam by 1.37 lh.

Pulses coverage has declined 2 per cent, with over 5 lh fall in Rajasthan, while a 15.5 lh acreage drop in Rajasthan and another two lh dip in Haryana dragged coarse cereals acreage by 17 per cent to 73.07 lh.

Source: Hindu Business

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