Sowing of kharif crops such as paddy and pulses have picked up over the past week due to a revival in monsoon rainfall.
Area under most crops, however, continues to lag over last year's corresponding number. Kharif crops have been sown in a total of 34.65 million hectares as of July 19, according to data from the agriculture ministry. This is 44 per cent lower than the corresponding area last year.
The gap was more than 50 per cent a week ago.
Paddy, which is milled to produce rice, has been sown on 12.73 million hectares, down 18 per cent from 15.48 million hectares last year.
Pulses, another important kharif crop, have been sown on 2.15 million hectares, down 32 per cent from 3.16 million hectares in the corresponding period last year.
Oilseeds have been sown only on 3.8 million hectares against the corresponding area of 15 million hectares last year.
Cotton acreage is down from 10 million hectares to 5.6 million hectares.
Significant sowing activity is expected to continue for the rest of July as good rainfall is likely for another 10 days. However, productivity could be affected due to delayed sowing.
Data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) show that the rainfall deficit (from the normal level) on a national level has come down to 35 per cent from 43 per cent last week thanks to a revival in rains.
This year, the monsoon arrived on June 6, according to the IMD. The normal date for the onset of monsoon is June 1, which was also the date it arrived last year. The IMD had also scaled down its monsoon forecast from 95 per cent (announced in April) of the long-period average (LPA) to 93 per cent. LPA is the average rainfall received over a period of 50 years.