Sowing has accelerated across Maharashtra due to good rainfall activity, and farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada have reported an increase in cotton sowing. Maharashtra’s total sowing area as of August 9 has crossed 131.06 lakh hectares, which was almost the same last year in August.
This increase in sowing activity follows a lag in June and July. Barring the divisions of Aurangabad, Nagpur and Amravati, other parts of the state have reported good rain, with Konkan, Nashik and Pune reporting more than 100 per cent of normal rain. Last year, rainfall across the state substantially was normal.
Farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada have reported 43.49 lakh hectares of cotton sowing as against 39.94 lakh hectares last year. Maharashtra normally reports 41.91 lakh hectares of cotton acreage. Traders point to the higher returns from the crop as a reason why farmers are preferring cotton.
Similarly, sowing of oilseeds have picked up with Maharashtra reporting 40.72 lakh hectares under oilseeds, which last year on the same date was 40.78 lakh hectares. Soyabean, the most widely grown oilseed in Maharashtra, has been sown over 38.51 lakh hectares, which last year was 38.63 lakh hectares. Wholesale prices of the oilseed were above the government declared Minimum Support Price (MSP) throughout last season, which can be a reason for the good sowing.
However, pulses seem to have fallen off the radar of farmers, as Maharashtra reported 18.68 lakh hectares of sowing as compared to 20.13 lakh hectares last year. Of pulses, tur sowing is at least 11.84 lakh hectares as compared to 11.92 lakh hectares last year. For the last two years, pulses acreage has been on the slide as farmers have shifted to better paying crops like oilseeds and cotton. This year, the dry June and July months saw a dip in moong and urad, which are shorter duration crops.
Maize and bajra acreage have also increased due to the better prices the commodities are fetching in wholesale markets. As against the 7.77 lakh hectares of maize last year, Maharashtra has reported 8.23 lakh hectares of maize acreage this year. Crop conditions have been good with farmers expecting a good yield in the coming days.