A delayed and insufficient monsoon seems to have taken a toll on the major kharif crops both in the state and the country. The agrimet department of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has estimated a shortfall in the yield of major crops like groundnut, cotton and sugarcane in the state, while crops like maize, pulses and jowar would have lower yield at the national level.
Dr N Chattopadhyay, deputy director general (DDG) of the agrimet department, said the delayed onset of monsoon and absence during the crucial growth phase had affected major crops. In Maharashtra, due to subdued monsoon from June 11 to July 10, nursery sowing was delayed. Also, rice saplings were affected due to ‘water stress’ condition. According to figures from the state agriculture department, it is estimated that 99 per cent transplantation of the rice was completed in the state only by mid-September. “There would be a slight low production in the state this year,” said Chattopadhyay.
The other major kharif crops in Maharashtra are rice, soyabean, cotton, jowar, red gram and groundnut. Figures from the agriculture department show that sowing of groundnut was done in less than half of the usual area and hence yield is expected to be significantly lesser. In case of cotton, sowing has been done on only 62 per cent of the normal kharif area. “Planting of sugarcane was also delayed and there would be a dip in the production,” said Chattopadhyay.
The overall rice production in the country is expected to be near normal, though sowing was affected in Haryana. “Maize production will be less than normal due to delay in sowing,” said the agrimet DDG. Figures show that sowing was affected in major maize-growing states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, besides interior Karnataka where the coverage of cereal crops is 3.41 lakh hectares less this year.
As far as cotton is concerned, Maharashtra, Haryana, interior Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have reported less sowing. In Gujarat, one of the major cotton-growing states, the sowing of contingency crops had reduced the area under cotton.
Commodity analysts say the prices of essential goods might go up due to the lesser yield.