Barring oilseeds planting of most crops lower than this week last year
As a shadow of drought lingers over different parts of the country, rabi sowing data released by the Agriculture Ministry on Friday show a 7 per cent drop in the cultivated area compared with the corresponding period in the previous year.
As against 311.69 lakh hectares (lh) planted till the same week in 2017-18, 288.91 lh have been covered this year. The maximum shortfall was reported in the cultivation of coarse cereals and pulses.
The total area under pulses remained at 88.67 lh (99 lh). Gram, which is a major pulses crop during the season, has been sown only on 62.65 lh, 13 per cent down (71.98 lh). The acreage under coarse cereals stood at 24.19 lh (35.13 lh), 31 per cent lower. Jowar sowing is nearly 36 per cent down to 15.97 lh so far. There is also a 19 per cent drop in the cultivation of maize at 4.84 lh and 11 per cent drop in barley sowing at 3.16 lh.
Even though wheat sowing showed a marginal 1.15 per cent increase compared to last year, it is nearly 17 per cent lower than the normal for the week. The total wheat sown area for the week stood at was 111.96 lh (110.69 lh). Rice planting is also reported to be 29 per cent lower compared to the same period in the previous year. The total area under rice is 6.75 lh (9.57 lh), particularly because of the shortfall in cultivation in Tamil Nadu. The southern State where cyclone Gaja wreaked havoc last week reported a sowing deficit of 1.92 lh, according to the official data.
Oilseeds seem to be the only saving grace. While the total area under oilseeds crops remained similar to what was sown last year at 57.34 lh, there was a 3 per cent increase in the area under mustard/rapeseed cultivation. As against 51.37 lh planted the same period last year, mustard/rapeseed crop stood at 52.93 lh till end of this week.