With an early harvest of kharif crops, sowing of wheat, the key cereal of winter season, has begun and preliminary data show there has been a significant jump in the acreage. The planting under mustard, masur (lentil), chana (gram) and maize has also been reported higher from year-ago level.
The total area under all rabi crops has reached 59.03 lakh hectares (lh) until October 27, up from 50.30 lh year-ago, the agriculture ministry said Friday releasing the weekly sowing update. There was 27.5 lh covered in past one week, and it would further increase as the temperature in the north falls further.
Wheat acreage has been reported at 3.86 lh, up by 78 per cent from 2.17 lh a year ago. Madhya Pradesh has reported 3.51 lh under wheat while Uttar Pradesh 0.16 lh, Punjab 0.10 lh and Uttarakhand 0.09 lh. Though sowing has begun in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, the government may release the data next week, an official said.
After two consecutive years of lower than estimated wheat procurement, 2023-24 season crop production will be very crucial for the government as it has been liberally releasing the stock from the official reserves in the open market to check price rise. The Agriculture Ministry has announced a target of 161.22 million tonnes (mt) of foodgrains output, including 114 mt of wheat and 18.17 mt of pulses in the current Rabi season.
In last Rabi season, the country had produced 173.98 mt of foodgrains including 110.55 mt of wheat and 18.44 mt of pulses.
Area under pulses up
According to the sowing update, pulses acreage stood at 16.79 lh as of Friday, up by 11.8 per cent from 15.02 lh in the corresponding period last year. The area under chana was up at 12.84 lh from 11.21 lh while that of masur at 2.13 lh against 1.24 lh a year ago.
The acreage of all pulses in Madhya Pradesh reached 5.61 lh, Karnataka 5.08 lh, in Rajasthan at 3.50 lh, Uttar Pradesh 0.94 lh, Maharashtra 0.76 lh, Andhra Pradesh 0.33 lh and Tamil Nadu at 0.31 lh.
The sowing under oilseeds reached 28.42 lh which includes Rajasthan 14.06 lh, Uttar Pradesh 8.47 lh, Madhya Pradesh 5.23 lh, Karnataka 0.44 lh and Tamil Nadu 0.05 lh. In the corresponding period last year, the oilseeds area was 24.67 lh. Mustard acreage was at 27.58 lh as of October 27, up by 16.5 per cent from year-ago while groundnut has dipped to 0.39 lh from 0.60 lh.
Out of 3.50 lh area coverage under winter paddy against 4.05 lh year-ago, Tamil Nadu has reported 3.17 lh and Kerala 0.27 lh.
In coarse cereals and Shree Anna, the coverage has reached 6.45 lh, up from 4.39 lh, in which jowar area was 5.44 lh against 3.28 lh and maize at 0.87 lh against 0.82 lh a year ago.
The 10 reservoirs in northern region in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, the storage level was at 79.96 per cent of their combined storage capacity of 19.663 billion cubic meter (BCM) as on October 26, whereas it was 88 per cent in the year ago period. The average storage of last ten years as on October 26 was 79.94 per cent of the capacity.
The water level in the 150 major reservoirs in India dropped further by two percentage points this week as nearly two-thirds of the country received deficient, largely deficient or no rain since October beginning. According to data from the Central Water Commission (CWC), the storage dropped to 71 per cent (127.591 billion cubic metres) of the 178.784 billion cubic metres (BCM) capacity this week from 73 per cent (129.636 BCM) a week ago.
This article has been republished from The Hindu Business Line