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Sowing of kharif crops like paddy has been progressing well so far except in parts of Karnataka, Agriculture Secretary Shobhan K Pattanayak said today. No damage of crops has been reported yet from states like Odisha and Assam facing flood-like situation, he said. Planting of 2017-18 kharif (summer) crops is under way. Sowing in the kharif season normally begins with the onset of South-west Monsoon and picks up pace from July. "Except for south interior parts of Karnataka, sowing of kharif crops across the country is progressing well so far. Overall, the acreage is higher than the year-ago period," Pattanayak told PTI. The area sown to cash crops -- cotton and sugarcane -- has risen so far while the acreage under soyabean and tur is a little lower, but "it's not a concern as of now". "Overall, the sowing is good.
We hope good production," Pattanayak added. Asked about states like Karnataka where some parts have not received rains as yet, the secretary said: "Farmers in the state are waiting for rains at this crucial period of sowing. We hope that next 4-5 days, the state receives good rains." Southern parts of the state, especially Dharwad and Gadag, have not received enough rains so far and the water level in reservoirs is also very low, he said. But in other parts of the state, the situation is better and planting of kharif crops is progressing, he added. About the flood-hit states, Pattanayak said, "We have not received any reports of crop damage yet." Till last week, paddy was sown in 125.77 lakh hectares, up by 4.5 per cent from 120.32 lakh hectares a year ago, as per the agriculture ministry's data. Pulse acreage remained higher at 74.61 lakh hectares from 60.28 lakh hectares while coverage of coarse cereals stood at 113.06 lakh hectares as against 98.79 lakh hectares in the said period. However, the oilseed area went down to 103.92 lakh hectares, from 115.75 lakh hectares a year earlier. In the case of cash crops, sugarcane acreage stood higher at 47.94 lakh hectares till last week of the ongoing kharif season, from 45.22 lakh hectares in the year-ago period. That of cotton acreage rose to 90.88 lakh hectares, from 73.93 lakh hectares during the said period. With monsoon rains expected to be normal this year, the government is targeting yet another bumper foodgrain and horticulture production in the new crop year 2017-18. However, bumper output has resulted in fall in prices in local markets, causing distress to farmers.
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