Summer sowing area up 7% despite below normal rain in several States

The sowing under summer crops, which will end by May, has reached 39.44 lakh hectares (lh) as of Friday. This is 7.3 per cent more than the previous year as the zaid season is progressing well despite low reservoir levels in many States.

Paddy, maize and groundnut reported an increase in acreage, while the acreage of some other crops like sunflower, bajra and ragi are lower from last year.

Zaid crop is grown before kharif sowing and after rabi harvest.

Moong down, urad up

According to weekly update released by the Agriculture Ministry, paddy sowing was up 8 per cent at 27.08 lh, while coarse cereals areas up by 9.1 per cent to reach 4.19 lh. Among the coarse cereals, maize area is up 24.2 per cent at 2.99 lh, while jowar is nearly doubled at 0.2 lh and bajra down by 23 per 0.97 lh.

Area under summer pulses reported an increase of 0.5 per cent to 3.23 lh, thanks mainly to 15.6 per cent increase in the coverage of other small local pulses. Moong crop sowing down by 0.6 per cent to 2 lh while urad reported at 1.11 lh, up by 1 per cent. The key growers of summer pulses are Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

Oilseeds area is higher by 7.3 per cent at 4.94 lh which includes groundnut at 2.7 lh and sesamum at 1.85 lh. Sunflower acreage reported 15 per cent lower at 19,000 hectares.

Meanwhile, the cumulative rainfall in pre-monsoon season since March 1 is 8 per cent below normal on pan-India basis as on March 15. While north-west region is surplus by 36 per cent, the central India has received 22 per cent lower precipitation so far, compared to the long period average. South has received 96 per cent below normal rainfall and east and north-east India have received 56 per cent lower than average precipitation during March 1-15, India Meteorological Department data show.

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