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Notwithstanding controversies surrounding the recently-passed farm Bills, farmers in the country have sown a record 1,117 lakh hectares (lha) under kharif crops — which is nearly 5 per cent more than the 1,066 lha planted in the corresponding week last year, showed data released by the Agriculture Ministry on Friday.

While oilseed crops registered a near 10 per cent increase over the same period last year, acreage of rice and pulses went up by over 5 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively.

The area under rice crossed 400 lha which is normal for any year. Among the States that have sown more rice as compared last year are Bihar (5.35 lha more), Telangana (4.4 lha), Madhya Pradesh (4.11 lha), Jharkhand (3.91 lha) and West Bengal (3 lha).

Among oilseeds, groundnut area jumped by 30 per cent over last year to cross 50 lha, while soyabean area went up by a modest 6 per cent to exceed 121 lha. The area under pulses is over 130 lha, which is 4 per cent more than about 134 lha planted in the same week in 2019-20.

Water storage levels

Better storage levels in all major reservoirs and a well spread-out monsoon have helped farmers to grow more, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the country as a whole received nearly 9 per cent more rainfall over the normal range so far. Similarly, 123 reservoirs monitored by the Central Water Commission have a cumulative water storage of 147.29 billion cubic metre (BCM), which is marginally lower than the storage of 148.3 BCM in the corresponding week in the previous year.

Skymet’s projections

Meanwhile, a kharif outlook released by private weather firm Skymet Weather projected a paddy output of 115.84 million tonnes (mt), while the estimated production of pulses and soyabean would be 8 mt and 12.2 mt, respectively. Skymet also expects cotton production to be 36.86 million bales of 170 kg each. Early this week, the Agriculture Ministry came out with its first advance estimates which pegged kharif foodgrain production at over 144 mt.


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