Concerned over deficient rains, the Centre on Saturday called a meeting of six states, including Karnataka and Maharashtra, to review the sowing situation.
While Kharif sowing has picked up pace, there are still concerns over rainfall in four states – Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan – where large tracts of land are still not covered, said Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna after the meeting.
He hoped that better rains in August would make up for shortfall in sowing area.
The Secretary today called top officials of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana to know
their preparedness for meeting any eventuality as these states have so far received very less rainfall. Kharif sowing begins with the onset of southwest monsoon in June.
"Overall, rainfall deficiency has reduced to 22% from 30% in June. Rains in July have not been that bad. The rate of sowing is picking up in a brisk manner. There are pockets of concern where rainfall is still deficit and the situation is still a cause of concern," Bahuguna said.
He pointed out that Karnataka, some parts of Maharashtra, Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat and Western Rajasthan have experienced deficient rains and crop coverage is lower than anticipated. "In these areas, large tracts of land are still not sown," Bahuguna said.
He informed while rainfall deficiency is also acute in Punjab and Haryana, but crop sowing position is comfortable in these two states because of irrigation facilities. "Sowing is more or less complete in Punjab. Sowing is 70% complete in Haryana."
The Secretary held that there is still sufficient time to undertake kharif sowing and rains in August are crucial.
"The health of the standing crop is good as of now. Yield losses are not anticipated," he said, adding that there is
adequate supply of seeds and fertilisers for kharif.
So far, the area under all kharif crops have fallen by 14% to 53.4 million hectares from a year-ago period.
Bahuguna said the loss of area is higher in Karnataka and Maharashtra but this could be made up with additional area in eastern India, where rainfall has been consistent.
There could be an overall shortfall of 10 lakh hectares area under kharif crops in Karnataka and 8.65 lakh hectares in Maharashtra, he added.
As per Agriculture Ministry's data, rice acreage is down by 10% to 14.45 million hectares, coarse cereals by 24% to 9.54 million hectares, pulses by 31% to 4 million hectares, oilseeds by 10% to 10.9 million hectares so far in the ongoing Kharif season.
Cotton sowing has fallen by 9% to 8.37 million hectares so far. However, sugarcane area has increased marginally to 5.3 million hectares.
The country harvested a record 257.44 million tonnes of foodgrains in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June) on account of good monsoon.