The monsoon has started to withdraw its force and shift its focus towards the peninsular India. This shift boils concerns for the Rabi cropping pattern and makes us think of the Kharif season coverage which passed by during the months June-October. The overall crop acreage this year is 1,065 lakh hectares. Comparing this number with the acreage of last year, it falls short by 5 lakh hectare, which stood at 1,070 lakh hectare. But comparing it with the normal sowing area, which is the average of last 5 year is 1,058 lakh hectare, this years’ overall production leads the normal sowing by a good 7 lakh hectare, i.e. well above the normal acreage area.
Zooming in the picture of this land acreage, Dr. S K Malhotra, agriculture commissioner mentioned, the splendid land coverage of Cotton which stood at 20 lakh hectare which is way beyond the normal acreage.
Rice, which is a major foodgrain in India witnessed acreage of 381 lakh hectare, which previously was 385 lakh hectare, made a difference of 4 lakh hectare. Dr. Malhotra stated since India is self sufficient in rice, and the fact that our rice is also targeted for export purposes, the falling land cover would not hurt the supply in the market. High efficiency rather than high acreage is the focus of our agronomists and scientists. And fetching more produce from the limited land is the need of the hour. Better varieties and farm practices, which are sustainable, are sought by the farms and farmers. “Being a water intensive crop, we need diversification in practicing the cultivation of paddy. Systems like drip irrigation shall be used for farming. “said Dr. Malhotra. Presently, 9.7 million hectare of land is under micro-irrigation system, which is expected to grow up to 10 million hectare in the coming 3-4 years for which schemes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana is helping extensively.
Another concerned food crop, which is one of the most important protein sources, draws attention from time to time. Pulses which witnessed a crop coverage of 142.7 lakh hectare is short by the previous years’ acreage of 148 lakh hectare. But the average coverage is 105 lakh hectares, which is normal. Though the numbers vary immensely when different pulse types are looked into. Arhar or Pigeon Pea, has witnessed less but above average acreage. It is speculated that the long duration for the cultivation and the depressed price has diverted the farmers from sowing Arhar. Urad, however, had an increased sowing by 7 lakh hectare but the acreage of Moong decreased. In the Coarse grains, which includes Jowar, Ragi, Bajra and Maize etc. attracted 187.96 lakh hectare of sowing. Sowing of Maize decreased to 2.5 lakh hectare.
Overall the condition of crop sowing was good and are supposed to catch up the targets. With a good monsoon this time, great productivity is hopeful. With the production records to be due, the results are expected to match the apprehensions.