New Delhi: The current lag in area sown to kharif crops especially rice and pulses is not a major cause for concern as sowing is still underway in eastern states and many flood-hit areas,according to a senior agriculture ministry official.
The area sown to most kharif crops will be recovered as sowing window is till September 15 and the total kharif output will be as per the target, the official added.
Sowing of kharif (summer) crops begins with the onset of southwest monsoon from June and harvesting starts from October onwards.
The agriculture ministry has set the production target for food grains at a record 291.1 million tonnes for 2019-20 crop year (July-June), comprising 147.9 million tonnes in kharif (summer) season and 143.2 million tonnes for rabi (winter) crops.
"Sowing area is lagging marginally as of now but that is not a cause for concern. The transplanting of paddy will continue till September15 in eastern states. In flood-hit areas of Assam and Bihar, transplanting is being done in areas where water has receded," the official told PTI.
As per the latest data released by the agriculture ministry, rice has been sown in 354.84 lakh hectares till last week of the kharif season of 2019-20 crop year, lower than 372.42 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.
Area under pulses is also down at 127.99 lakh hectares as against 131.54 lakh hectares in the said period.
The official said,"The sowing of minor pulses and short duration pulses is still going on.The acreage will be more."
Area under major kharif crops will recover and overall output is expected to be as per the target. "There won't be any shortfall in the output," the official said.
Asked about kharif output projections being made by private agencies,the official said, "There are many private agencies which have started projecting agriculture output before completing of sowing. The government has its own system and we follow that. We work in the interest of farmers."
Getting sowing data from block level is not an easy task for the government. It takes time and sometimes there is a lag of week or ten days. Therefore, the sowing data should be read keeping these things in mind, the official explained.
According to the data, oil seeds have been sown in 170.78 lakh hectares till last week of the kharif season of this year,against 171.15 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.
Coarse cereals have been sown in 171.74 lakh hectares as against 171.73 lakh hectares in the said period.
Sugarcane has been sown in 52.41 lakh hectares till last week of this kharif season compared with 55.47 lakh hectares a year ago, while jute/mesta has been sown in 6.84 lakh hectares against 7.20 lakh hectares in the said period.
However, cotton has been sown in higher area at 124.90 lakh hectares till last week of this kharif season as against 117.66 lakh hectares in the year-ago period.
Total area sown under kharif crop is about 1,009.50 lakh hectares, lower than 1027.17 lakh hectares in the said period.