Paddy sowing continues to lag, acreage down by 8.25%, shows govt data
The area under paddy in the week ended August 18 was almost 8.25 per cent less than in the equivalent period last year.
This was an improvement over the almost 15 per cent shortfall in the previous week, the latest data from the agriculture ministry showed.
The deficit in paddy acreage has narrowed in UP, Bihar, and West Bengal between the two weeks in consideration owing to revival in rain, the data reflected.
Nonetheless, compared to last year, paddy acreage is down by almost 340,000 hectares in Bihar, 1.14 million hectares in Jharkhand, 630,000 hectares in West Bengal, and 270,000 hectares in Uttar Pradesh.
Doubts remain on the final harvest due to inordinate delays in sowing.
This has led to fears of a drop in 10-15 million tonnes in rice production this kharif season, whose main crop is paddy.
In the previous season, India produced over 111 million tonnes.
In several states, farmers have shifted to short-duration crops such as pulses and coarse cereals.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), between June 1 and August 21, in the country as a whole, the southwest monsoon is around 8 per cent more than normal but it is in deficit in major paddy-growing states of UP (-44 per cent), West Bengal (-18 per cent), Jharkhand (-26 per cent), and Bihar (-40 per cent).
In Telangana, another major paddy-growing state, crops have been damaged due to excess rain (62 per cent).
The fall in acreage has triggered fears of the government clamping down on rice export as it did in the case of wheat in May.
The saving grace is unlike wheat, the stocks of rice in the central pool are adequate. India, the world’s second-largest producer and top exporter of rice, commands a 40 per cent share in the global rice trade.
It exported 21.2 million tonnes in 2021-22. Of that 3.94 million tonnes was basmati rice.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.