Business Standard

Kharif sowing drops further, raises concern

Farmers may shift from soy, cotton and maize if rainfall doesn’t improve sufficient­ly, say analysts

- SANJEEB MUKHERJEE

The sowing of kharif crops continued to be less than last year despite a revival in monsoon in some parts of the country. This has raised concerns over the final crop output as any extraordin­ary delay in sowing will impact yields. A drop in kharif output, particular­ly of oilseeds and pulses, could have an adverse impact on their already high prices, pushing up inflationa­ry impact on the economy.

Sowing of kharif crops continued to be less than last year despite a revival in monsoon in some parts of the country. This has raised concerns over the final crop output as any extraordin­ary delay in sowing will impact yields.

A drop in kharif output, particular­ly of oilseeds and pulses, could have an adverse impact on their already high prices, pushing up infla- tionary impact on the economy.

Till last week (July 9), sowing of kharif crops was 10.45 per cent less than last year, which wor- sened during the week ending July 16 to 11.6 per cent.

More importantl­y, the area covered under kharif crops dropped below the normal acreage (which is the average acreage of the last five years).

Sowing was down almost 4 per cent as compared to the normal area till July 16, 2021.

Among major crops, the acreage of urad is almost 23.30 per cent less than last year, while for moong it is around 21 per cent less than last year.

For bajra, the acreage is 39.85 per cent less than last year, while groundnut area is 18.16 per cent less than last year (till July 16). Soybean area is 11.92 per cent less.

Cotton has been planted in 12.94 per cent less area till July 16 as compared to the same period last year. (see chart)

“There are concerns of moisture stress in some areas, mostly in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where early sowing was done. If it does not rain soon, it may cause yield loss,” the Soybean Processors Associatio­n of India (SOPA) said. In MP, which is the country’s largest soybean growing state, SOPA added that soybean area is expected to reduce by 10 per cent as compared to 2020. This is because farmers have switched to other crops such as black gram, maize and moong.

CRISIL Research, in a report, said there could be a shift in soybean, cotton and maize acreages across the rainfall-deficit states if the monsoon fails to revive as forecast.

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