Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Tuesday that the delay in monsoon was not worrisome and expected the rainfall to be better from next week onwards.
Briefing media after reviewing the monsoon, water storage and crop-sowing situation in the country, Pawar said his ministry was in constant touch with the states and that the central government was fully prepared to meet any rainfall-related situation.
"States have prepared contingency plans and they will ensure availability of seed of alternative crops/varieties to implement such plans in the event of further delay in monsoon rains," Pawar added.
He said that though the delay in the south-west monsoon had affected sowing of crops in some parts of the country, there was likelihood of the monsoon picking up in July-August and benefiting kharif sowing.
"The sowing time for rice, pulses, oilseeds and cotton is still left, and these crops can be sown once the rainfall has normalized," he added.
Asked whether rice production would decline this year, Pawar said the sown area was more than normal. It was quite possible that production would be good in major rice producing states like Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
He said that till June 29, rice was sown in 30.72 lakh hectare, coarse cereals in 10.42 lakh hectare, oilseeds in 10.77 lakh hectare and pulses in 3.99 lakh hectare.
Pawar, however, noted that the area under cultivation for commercial crops like cotton and sugarcane had been higher.
"About 28% sowing of cotton has been completed so far. The total area coverage is 3.11 million ha which is 0.65 million ha higher than the normal area of the week (2.46 million ha). The total coverage under sugarcane is 5.22 million ha against 4.92 million ha last year," he said.
He also said that the current year's storage in major reservoirs in the country is 103% of the normal storage, as compared to 62% storage at this time last year.