Sowing report: Lowest area under paddy in a decade

Till July 8, rainfall had been deficient in at least eight states

By Shagun
Published: Sunday 10 July 2022

Just 7.22 million hectares (mha) have been sown with paddy, according to data released by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare July 8, 2022. This is the lowest area sown till the second week of July when compared to the last 10 years.

For instance, on July 13, 2012, the area under paddy was 9.67 mha. It has remained between 8.9 mha and 12.57 mha in the following years since then.

Read Wheat Crisis: Government procurement goals not met, food security risk increases

The area sown this time is also 24 per cent less than the corresponding period of 2021. The primary reason being attributed to the reduced sown area is the failure of the monsoon in the month of June in most parts of the country.

India’s Public Distribution System (PDS) could be in for trouble if sowing doesn’t pick up in the month of July, as rice is its main food item.

The situation has become only more complicated after the low wheat crop due to a scorching heat wave in March. This resulted in a record drop (56.6 per cent) in the government’s wheat procurement for the Rabi Marketing season 2022-23.

Already, wheat is being substituted with rice in many states after a cut in their wheat allocation under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.

Union Minister for Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal had this week urged states to grow more paddy, signalling a worry among the government departments over a dip in paddy acreage.

All major paddy growing states such as Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Odisha and Chhattisgarh have recorded less sowing compared to last year.

Kharif crops (including paddy, pulses, oilseeds, coarse grains, sugarcane, cotton and jute) have been sown on an area that is 6.29 mha (16 per cent) less than last year till July 8.

Except pulses, the area under all Kharif crops has gone down. The area under coarse grains like jowar, bajra, ragi, maize has been hit the highest — 76.43 per cent less than 2021.

Usually, most of the sowing is completed by the end of June. But this time, the month ended with an eight per cent deficit, with 18 states staring at large rainfall deficits.

Monsoon-like rainfall was largely absent over the southern peninsula, east and northeast, central and parts of north India.

Most of central, eastern and southern India is dependent on rain-fed irrigation and has some of the poorest small and marginal farmers, who are not in a position to sow again if their crops fail.

There are reports of Kharif sowing being impacted and farmers running into losses in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

Till July 8, rainfall had been deficient in at least eight states, including Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Kerala. The quantity and duration of the rainfall in the remaining July month becomes very crucial now for India’s food security.

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