Marginal rise in area under kharif crops

New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) After brisk sowing in the initial weeks of the current kharif season, there appears to be a slowdown, with just a 1.14 percent increase in the crops sown till Friday.

Compared with similar data released a week ago, the area under paddy this year stood at 345.89 lakh hectares, marginally more than last year’s 345.48 lakh hectares.

The sown area under paddy on August 21 stood at 333.65 lakh hectares, which was also higher than 332.09 lakh hectares in the same period of last year.

Unseasonal rains in the early months of this year hit rabi crops, especially wheat, for which sowing starts in November and harvest happens during April-May.

For the kharif season, where sowing starts in June with paddy as the main crop, the deficit rain forecasts had raised fears.

The encouraging development was seen in pulses. Official data showed that the crop sowing area has shot up to 105.52 lakh hectares as on Friday compared with 94.18 lakh hectares a year ago.

Areas under sugarcane also improved to 48.84 lakh hectares, from 47.17 lakh hectares.

Coarse cereals too showed an upward trend with 172.52 lakh hectares against 167.23 lakh hectares.

However, cotton was a bit disappointing with 112.68 lakh hectares against the earlier 122.50 lakh. Jute lost 0.33 lakh hectares, falling from 8.13 lakh hectares in 2014 to 7.80 lakh hectares this year.

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