Sowing of kharif crops staged a recovery during the week ended July 1, 2022, with the shortfall in area covered in relation to 2021 dropping from a whopping 24 per cent on June 24 to just around 5.33 per cent, official data showed.
The recovery in sowing has been led by cotton and pulses after farmers hurried to plant their crops as the monsoon showed signs of revival after a long pause.
Official data showed that among major kharif crops, acreage of pulses was almost 7 per cent more than last year (as on July 1). Cotton was almost 4 per cent higher than the same period last year and coarse cereals around 2 per cent more. Till June 24, acreage of all major crops was less than last year.
In pulses, data showed that the area covered under moong saw a rise compared to last year. This helped pull up the total figure. But, acreage of urad and tur is still less as compared to 2021.
Cotton area has also risen by almost 4 per cent compared to the same period last year. This is largely due to pick up in sowing in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Among other crops, acreage of rice, the largest foodgrain grown during the season, lagged. This is because farmers waited for rains to settle down before going in for planting as rice requires more water than other crops.
As far as rains are concerned, there was some good news in store as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday said rains in July are expected to be normal across India at 94-106 per cent of the long period average (LPA). The LPA for July rains is 28.04 cm.
The Met department said normal-to-above-normal rains are expected over most parts of North, Central and South Peninsular in July, while below-normal-rains could be expected in East and North-East India.
Below-normal rains in East and North-East India could come as a blessing in disguise as several areas are reeling from intense floods.
July and August are the most crucial months in the four-month southwest monsoon season as almost 60 per cent of rain falls in these two months.
The Met department — in its statement — said the latest global model forecasts indicate that the prevailing La Niña conditions are likely to continue over the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Also, there is a possibility of development of negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions during July-September 2022. Weathermen hope this should ensure normal rains during the monsoon season.