Deficient June rainfall deals blow to kharif sowing

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Kharif sowing in the country has taken a massive hit due to lack of rains. Data released by the Union government on Friday showed 140.52 lakh hectares of sowing as against 184.44 lakh hectares last year. And with the southwest monsoon likely to continue in its weak phase till the end of June, there is growing uncertainty over this year’s remaining kharif sowing.
India’s highest regional rainfall deficiency of minus 31 per cent (from June 1 to June 24) is being reported from the central India region, covering Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.
“Except Marathwada, most areas in central India are under stress due to deficient rainfall received in this season so far. There are no favourable systems likely to form that could bring rains over central and interior peninsular India, at least till the end of June,” said Medha Khole, scientist, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune.
This could mean that deficient June rainfall resulting in poor soil moisture could hit major kharif cultivation areas in the country.
Among the kharif crops, oilseeds have taken the maximum hit with the country reporting 47.45 per cent year-on-year dip. Only 11.48 lakh hectares of area has come under oilseed from last year’s 22.41 lakh hectares. Similarly, rice (19.59/36.03 lakh hectares), pulses (8.70/13.62 lakh hectares), coarse cereals (11.08/18.06 lakh hectares) and cotton (31.83/37.84 lakh hectares) have reported dip in sowing. The only crop that has reported a positive growth is sugarcane with farmers taking the cash crop over 50.74 lakh hectares this season as against 50.16 lakh hectares last year.
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