Pre-Monsoon Sowing Of Kharif Crops Begins; Paddy Acreage Up 27 Percent

Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, pre-monsoon sowing of kharif crops has begun across the country with paddy acreage 27 percent higher at 32.58 lakh hectare so far as compared to last season, according to the agriculture ministry. The sowing will pick up with the onset of the southwest monsoon (June-September), which delivers about 70 percent of the country’s annual rainfall.

Paddy is the main Kharif crop besides pulses and oilseeds.

As per the latest data by the ministry, farmers have sown paddy in 32.58 lakh hectares as of Friday, up 27 percent, from 23.81 lakh hectares in the corresponding period of last year.

Kharif season starts in June and ends in September.

The sowing area has been reported mainly from West Bengal (11.25 lakh hectare), Telangana (7.45 lakh hectare), Odisha (3.13 lakh hectare), Assam (2.73 lakh hectare), Karnataka (1.64 lakh hectare) and Chhattisgarh (1.50 lakh hectare).

Some other states are also on the list including Tamil Nadu (1.30 lakh hectare), Bihar (1.22 lakh hectare), Maharashtra (0.65 lakh hectare), Madhya Pradesh (0.59 lakh hectare), Gujarat (0.54 lakh hectare), and Kerala (0.46 lakh hectare), the ministry said.

The area sown to pulses has increased to 3.97 lakh hectares from 3.01 lakh hectares in the said period. Of which, green gram has been planted in 2.59 lakh hectares black gram in 1.23 lakh hectares,s and other pulses in 0.15 lakh hectares so far.

Similarly, the area under coarse cereals has increased to 5.54 lakh hectares so far in the current kharif season of this year from 4.33 lakh hectares a year ago. Of which, maize has been planted in 2.81 lakh hectares and bajra in 2.51 lakh hectares in the said period.

In the case of oilseeds too, the sowing area has increased to 6.66 lakh hectares from 5.97 lakh hectares in the said period. Of which, groundnut has been sown in 4.08 lakh hectares, while that of sesamum in 2.13 lakh hectares in the said period.

The total area planted under all kharif crops has increased to 48.76 lakh hectares so far this season as against 37.12 lakh hectares in the same period last year.

To contain the spread of COVID-19, the government has advised farmers to maintain social distancing during the sowing of kharif crops besides wearing face masks and using hand sanitizer to avoid any infection.

Meanwhile, the government has also called a national-level video conference on April 16 to chalk out a strategy for sowing the kharif crops, such as rice, and ensuring the safety of farmers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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