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India’s Paddy Acreage Sees 10% Surge in Summer Sowing Despite Rainfall Concerns

India’s Paddy

India has witnessed a significant surge in the sowing of summer crops, with paddy acreage leading the charge with a remarkable 10% increase compared to the previous year. The latest data from the Agriculture Ministry reveals that the sowing of summer crops, excluding coarse cereals, has reached 43.81 lakh hectares (lh) as of Friday, marking an 11% rise from 39.49 lh during the same period last year.

This surge in summer crop sowing comes amid concerns over reservoir levels in many states, signaling a resilient agricultural sector that is adapting to challenging conditions. Paddy, pulses, and oilseeds have all reported increases in acreage, indicating a positive outlook for the agricultural economy.

The weekly update by the Agriculture Ministry indicates that paddy sowing has seen a substantial 10% increase, reaching 28.42 lh compared to 25.88 lh last year. Similarly, pulses have witnessed a notable uptick with acreage up by 24%, reaching 7.72 lh from 6.25 lh previously. Oilseeds acreage also saw a modest increase of 4%, standing at 7.67 lh compared to 7.36 lh last year. However, data regarding the acreage of coarse cereals was not available on the portal.

Among the key contributors to the rise in summer pulses are states like Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat. The increase in acreage is primarily attributed to the expanded cultivation of urad and moong, with moong crop sowing up at 5.47 lh compared to 4.43 lh last year, and urad at 2.08 lh from 1.65 lh.

Furthermore, groundnut and sesamum acreage has also seen an uptick, with both crops surpassing their year-ago levels. Groundnut acreage stands at 3.67 lh compared to 3.58 lh previously, while sesamum acreage has reached 3.5 lh from 3.31 lh. Sunflower cultivation has also seen a rise, with acreage reported at 29,000 hectares against 26,000 hectares last year.

The surge in paddy acreage is particularly notable in states like West Bengal, where it has reached 10.22 lh from 7.87 lh previously, Tamil Nadu at 1.29 lh from 0.77 lh, and Telangana at 5.99 lh from 4.77 lh.

However, concerns loom over rainfall patterns, as cumulative rainfall in the pre-monsoon season since March 1 remains 10% below normal on a pan-India basis. The north-west region faces a rainfall deficit of 19%, while central India has seen a significant increase in precipitation, 111% higher than its long-period average during March 1-29. South peninsula region has experienced a 79% below-normal rainfall, and east and north-east India have witnessed a 7% lower than average precipitation during the same period, according to data from the India Meteorological Department.

Despite these concerns, the robust increase in summer crop acreage, particularly in paddy, pulses, and oilseeds, reflects the resilience of India’s agricultural sector in adapting to challenging conditions and signals a positive outlook for the upcoming harvesting season.

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