NEW DELHI: Planting of kharif crops this season has slipped behind last year’s figure largely due to uneven spread of rainfall during July-August sowing months.According to latest numbers from the agriculture ministry, kharif crop planting has covered 1,041.17 lakh hectare land from June up to September 8, a 0.83% decline from 1,049.87 lakh hectares a year earlier. Pulses and oil seeds saw the most decline, followed by rice and coarse cereals. Planting of food crops suffered as farmers moved to more remunerative cash crop such as cotton and sugarcane due to lucrative pricing.The government has set a target of planting kharif crop on 1,058.62 lakh hectares this year.Meanwhile, data from the weather department shows monsoon rainfall has been 5% below normal so far this year.

The agriculture ministry on Friday said area under oilseeds, pulses, coarse cereals and rice contracted, while planting of sugarcane and cotton expanded.Planting of oilseeds, chiefly soyabean and groundnut, fell 9.59% from the previous year to 169.20 lakh hectares.The area of pulse cultivation dropped 3.92% to 139.17 lakh hectares. Rice was planted on 371.46 lakh hectares, down 1.44%. The target for rice this season is 395.94 lakh hectares.

According to the weather department, the country’s 91 major reservoirs held 16% less water as on Thursday compared with last year and the ten year average. At 91.201 billion cubic metres, these dams saw a 5.27% increase in reservoir level from the previous week.The storage position remains similar to the previous week when the basins of the Indus, Sabarmati, Mahi, Rivers of Kutch and Ganga recorded better than normal storage. Storage fell short of the normal level in the basins of the Godavari and the Mahanadi and its neighbouring east flowing rivers. The Narmada, Tapi, Cauvery and Krishna basin had deficient storage.


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