Sowing up 87 percent since monsoon onset

Economy


NEW DELHI: Farm activity has seen an uptick in June, aided by heavy rainfall, with 87% more area coming under cultivation of various key crops so far in the season compared to last year.

Rice, grown across 40% of the total area during the kharif season, is up 39%, while oilseeds area has increased by more than three times and cultivation of pulses has quadrupled.

“The government has surplus food grain production. But we need to grow pulses and oilseeds, for which we are dependent on imports. By bringing more area under oilseeds, we will become self-reliant,” said agriculture commissioner S K Malhotra.

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Above-normal rainfall in central India has prompted massive sowing of soyabean, whose cultivated area has increased by five times from last year, when the monsoon was weak in the region during this time.

India is the biggest exporter of rice and cotton, and both commodities appear to be headed for a bumper harvest.

“The area under cotton has doubled. Farmers, especially in Punjab, have diverted to cotton from rice due to shortage of labour. We expect cotton production to go up with timely arrival of monsoon,” said an agriculture department official.



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