There has been a decline of 6.9 per cent in the area of crops sown this summer, according to the latest data published by the Union Ministry of Agriculture on July 19, 2019.
According to the data, rice has been sown on 14 million hectares (ha), down from 15.1 million ha the same time previous year. This is 32 per cent below the normal for the corresponding week.
The area under soybeans has shrunk to 8 million ha from 9 million ha. Pulses acreage also reduced 13 per cent to the normal for the corresponding week. And similarly, the total acreage of coarse cereals and oilseeds has dropped by 12 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
The total area of sowing has been reduced by 63 per cent compared to the national average, according to ministry data. Maze, however, was sown on almost as much as the 2018’s 5.5 million ha.
Indian farmers start planting rice, corn, cotton, soybeans, sugarcane, and peanuts from June 1, when the monsoon officially flags off. But this year, the southwestern monsoon has been short of the mark up to now.
Rainfall was 20 per cent below average for the week ending July 17, 2019. And the total deficit since June 1 has been 16 per cent. This took water levels of the main reservoirs to 24 per cent below their storage capacity.
The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare keeps updating the provisional sowing figures as it gathers more information from the state governments.