Agriculture commissioner A K Singh has said there is a slight deficit in paddy coverage in the ongoing kharif season mainly in eastern India, but it will be recovered with monsoon progressing fast.
In the southern region, paddy has been planted in a significant area buoyed by good and well-distributed rainfall. In Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh too, there is no cause of concern as of now as the sowing is normally undertaken much in advance with the help of tubewell irrigation, he said.
The government has not released the latest data of paddy sowing, but the data available till July 17 showed all-India paddy coverage to be down by 17.4 per cent at 128.50 lakh hectare so far this kharif season as against 155.53 lakh hectare in the corresponding period of the previous year.
The sowing of kharif crops begins with the onset of the southwest monsoon in June. Paddy is a major kharif crop. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has projected a normal southwest monsoon this year.
While the cumulative rainfall remained 11 per cent higher across the country during June 1 to July 20 period of the ongoing monsoon season, there was 14 per cent less rainfall in east and north east India and 9 per cent lower rains in north west India in the said period, as per the IMD.
Speaking to PTI, the agriculture commissioner said, “I sincerely hope that the situation should be normal in terms of sowing. In due course of time, there will be recovery also. The planted paddy crop should survive as rains have started everywhere.”
There is “still time to recover in terms of area coverage under paddy as monsoon is progressing and advancing fast”, he said.
While there is a slight deficit in paddy coverage especially in eastern India, including eastern and central Uttar Pradesh, but with rains now catching up that area will be recovered, he added.
“Coming to eastern part, there is some deficiency, but I say it will all be recovered,” Singh said and added, a period up to July 15 is a window for normal planting in eastern part and a two-three days of delay does not make much difference.
The deficit in paddy coverage so far in eastern states was due to delayed monsoon. “But rains are coming now and compensating. So, planting will be recovered,” he said.
Normally, farmers grow nursery on assured irrigation in this region. Some farmers have grown a nursery, while some have already transplanted. “Now rains are catching up in this region also. The area will be recovered,” he added.
At the same time, there are other options for farmers in case they are not able to transplant paddy, the agriculture commissioner said they can either go for direct seeding rice method or grow maize which is an evergreen crop.
In case of a longer delay of monsoon, farmers can grow early mustard and turiya crops, he said.
According to IMD, there was 68 per cent deficit rains in Uttar Pradesh, 51 per cent in Jharkhand, 49 per cent in Bihar, 40 per cent in Manipur, 30 per cent in Tripura, 27 per cent in West Bengal, 22 per cent in Delhi, 21 per cent in Mizoram, 18 per cent in Nagaland, and 16 per cent in Uttarakhand till July 20 of the current season.
The agriculture commissioner said Haryana, Punjab and western Uttar Pradesh are basically tubewell irrigated states. Farmers here undertake sowing well in time and have got resources to safeguard the crops.
“Hopefully there should not be any downfall in production in these states. Now the rains have started. If plants survive with help of tubewell irrigation, they can very easily catch up with normal production,” he said.
There is no deficit in paddy coverage so far in the southern region. The southern states have received good and well-distributed rains and paddy has been sown in a significant area, he added.
The government has kept a rice production target of 112 million tonnes in the ongoing kharif season of the 2022-23 crop year (July-June).
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