The sudden pick-up in southwest monsoon since July end has helped farmers in East, West and, to some extent, North push up sowing of paddy, coarse cereals and oilseeds.
As a result, the total acreage under all kharif crops till August 17 was just 125,000 hectares less than normal (average area of last five years).
Officials said the biggest beneficiary of the late resurgence of southwest monsoon had been paddy, whose area till August 16 was 1.71 million hectares more than the normal acreage.
|MORE AREA UNDER CROP
|Figures in million hectares Source: Department of Agriculture
Barely a week before August 16, paddy acreage was around 800,000 hectares less than normal because of insufficient rains in the eastern parts of the country.
However, the situation turned in just six-seven days.
Between August 9 and August 15, the southwest monsoon was around 30 per cent above normal in Jharkhand and 32 per cent above normal in Gangetic West Bengal, both primarily paddy growing areas.
According to the department of agriculture, between July 27 and August 16, the area under paddy rose by a staggering 61 per cent, while that under coarse cereals increased by 34.4 per cent, oilseeds by 16 per cent and pulses by 35.4 per cent.
“This is significant rise in acreage in a span of around 20 days,” a senior government official said. He said if the trend continues till end of August, much of the shortfall in areas under coarse cereals, pulses and paddy would be wiped off.
“Coarse cereals and pulses are usually sown when rains are deficient. Hence, we are hopeful that in areas where the southwest monsoon is still significantly less than normal, farmers will start sowing coarse cereals and pulses, which require less water,” the official added.
As on August 16, the areas under coarse cereals and pulses was still almost three million and 1.16 million hectares less than normal, respectively.
Over the last few weeks, overall southwest monsoon deficiency has also narrowed down from around 21 per cent by end of July to 16 per cent as on August 18. However, experts warned that much would depend on how the rains fare in September, because according to the India Meteorological Department, rains would be less in September when compared with August.