Monsoon deficit at 21%, coarse cereals a concern
New Delhi: The government Friday said monsoon deficiency is at 21 percent so far and expressed concern about the slow pace of sowing of coarse cereals.
Briefing media on the kharif crop sowing situation, Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna said recovery is unlikely in the shortfall in coverage of area in Karnataka, which is facing a drought-like situation.
"The country as a whole is 21 percent deficient as on July 26, which is one percentage point better than the last data. Possibility is that we will be roundabout the same level of deficiency at the end of this month," Bahuguna said.
"I now do not see any likelihood of area being recovered in Karnataka. Loss of area under kharif crops will be in the state," he added.
The area sown to major kharif crops like paddy, coarse cereals, pulses, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane in the state is down by one million hectare from over the year-ago period, as per the data released by the Ministry.
The worse affected crop in Karnataka is coarse cereals and its area is lower by 0.5 million hectare at 1.27 million hectare so far.
Area under coarse cereals across the country is down by 23 percent at 11.7 million hectare from over year-ago period.
Bahuguna said: "In coarse cereals, the gap (in sowing area) has widened in one week, which is a matter of concern."
Till last week, area under coarse cereals across the country was lagging behind by 3.1 million hectare and the gap has increased to 3.4 million hectare this week, as per the official data.
The Secretary, however, expressed confidence that the shortfall in area under paddy, currently down 8.71 percent at 19.1 million hectare over last year, would be made up in the coming days.
On the sowing situation in Maharasthra, he said there would not be area loss, but deficient rains in some pockets might have impact on crop health.
While pulses and bajra sowing may be affected in Rajasthan, groundnut and cotton could take a hit in Gujarat, he added.
He said that oilseeds sowing, however, has improved but area is still marginally down at 13.83 million hectare so far against 13.98 million hectare in the reviewed period.
Sowing area under pulses is lower at 6.29 million hectare as against 7.66 million hectare in the reviewed period.
Among cash crops, area under cotton is down at 9.72 million hectare as on Friday, as compared with 10.4 million hectare in the year-ago period. However, area planted to sugarcane is higher at 5.28 million hectare so far, as against 5.09 million hectare in the same period last year.
Total area under all monsoon-sown crops is down by 10 percent at 66.82 million hectare so far, as compared to 74.2 million hectare in the year-ago period.