With the rainfall deficit coming down , the gap in kharif crop sowing has narrowed to 29 per cent as of July 25 compared with a year earlier. The gap was 44 per cent a week ago on July 18.
According to agriculture ministry data released on Friday, sowing has been completed on 53.31 million hectares as of July 25, compared with 74.77 million hectares a year ago. The data is updated on a weekly basis.
Sowing of pulses and oilseeds has sharply expanded compared to last week. Against an area of 2.15 million hectares till last Friday, pulses have been sown on 4.44 million hectares. Oilseeds have been sown on 10.78 million hectares against 3.8 million hectares till last week. Both, however, are lower than last year's corresponding area of 7.36 million hectares (pulses) and 16.71 million hectares (oilseeds).
Paddy has been sown on 16.57 million hectares against 19.63 million hectares last year. Coarse cereals have been sown on 8.44 million hectares against 14.88 million hectares. Cotton has been sown on 7.61 million hectares against 10.50 million hectares.
Sowing activity is expected to continue for the rest of July and even early August as good rainfall is expected to continue. However, productivity could be affected due to delayed sowing .
Indian Meteorological Department data shows that the rainfall deficit (from the normal level) on a national level has come down to 24 per cent from 43 per cent two weeks ago with a revival in rains. Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist at CARE Ratings, said in a July 21 report that the deficit is a cause for concern because late arrival affects the sowing pattern as farmers tend to switch crops, thus distorting the equilibrium.