Amid all the mayhem due to coronavirus pandemic, kharif crop sowing so far has beaten last year’s figures with the total acreage as of 3rd July 2020 being 88% higher than the comparable period last year. The favourable monsoons this year are largely behind the kharif sowing growth, a report said on Saturday. “As of July 3, the total kharif acreage was 88% higher than the same period last year. Sowing was late last year due to extremely weak start to monsoon,” a Kotak Institutional Equities report said. Among major kharif crops, rice sowing was 38% higher at 6.8 million hectares, oilseed acreage was 225% higher at 10.9 million hectares and pulses sowing was higher by 289% at 3.7 million hectares than last year.
Other crops such as coarse cereal acreage was also 101% higher at 7.1 million hectares, sugarcane and cotton acreages were at 5.1 million hectares and 9.2 million hectares respectively. The figures for these crops last year stood at 5 million and 4.6 million hectares respectively.
While a majority of India’s population depends on agriculture, the sector is still dependent on monsoon rains which determine the success and failure of crop sowing season every year. Last year’s underwhelming monsoon was a major sore point for not just rural India but also other sectors such as automobile and FMCG which rely on rural income.
However, this year has fared well on the monsoon front. Cumulative rainfall as of 1st July 2020 was 15.8% above long-term average. Spatial distribution of monsoon was also excess on a cumulative basis. However, over the last couple of weeks, rainfall has been weakening in southern India and parts of north and north-west India. Four out of the 36 sub-divisions across India have received deficient rainfall so far, 18 have received normal rainfall, and 14 have received excess rainfall.