Sowing of kharif crops such as cotton, pulses and oilseeds may take a hit in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh because of scanty rainfall in these states, a top official said.
The sowing period for most crops will end by the middle of July and a delay could impact harvest, J.S. Sandhu, Agriculture Commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday. He told Business Today that the normal sowing window for kharif crops is June 15 to July 15. However, there is concern of a significant deficit in rainfall in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The weather department's forecast for these regions is also not favourable. "We are ready to sow but we need rains to have the ideal moisture content in soil," says Sandhu.
According to the India Meteorological Department, states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Telengana had scanty rainfall (60 to 99 per cent lower than normal) in the monsoon season that started in the first week of June. Overall, the country had 43 per cent lower rainfall compared to normal showers.
Sandhu said only a limited number of crops such as pulses, maize and some fodder crops can be sown in the period between July 15 and July 30.
According to agriculture ministry data, paddy had been sown in 2.19 million hectares, pulses in 430,000 hectares, coarse cereals in 1.95 million hectares and oilseeds in 479,000 hectares as of June 27. Most of these are much lower than the corresponding area sown last year when monsoon rainfall in the country was above normal. For the current year, the weather office has scaled down its monsoon forecast to 93 per cent of the long-period average (LPA) from 95 per cent announced in April. LPA is the average rainfall received over a 50-year period.
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