Mustard and gram (chana) are leading the early trends of Rabi sowing this year with farmers having completed planting operations in more than seven lakh hectares so far in Gujarat.
The Centre has been procuring gram and mustard from farmers at minimum support price (MSP) regularly for the past five years and acreage of these two important crops has been increasing gradually.
Farmers had completed sowing mustard in 1.71 lakh hectares by November 15, the latest state government data shows. This is significantly higher than the 1.30 lakh hecatres brought under the oilseed crop during the corresponding period last year, data further suggests. It is more than 88 per cent of the last three years’ average mustard acreage of 1.94 lakh hecaters.
The mustard acreage so far this season accounts for more than 24 per cent of the total planted area in the state, with six districts accounting for almost 1.50 lakh hecatres of the 1.71 lakh hecatres mustard acreage this season.
Most of the mustard acreage has been reported from the north Gujarat districts of Banaskantha (1.12 lakh hectares), Mehsana (18,600 hectares), Patan (16,600 hectares), Sabarkantha (11,000 hectares) , Gandhinagar (800 hecatres), and Aravalli (400 hectares). These six districts form the traditional bed for this Rabi crop, and together contribute 88 percent to the state’s total mustard area. In fact, Banaskantha alone accounts for around 66 percent of the state’s total mustard acerage.
Mustard requires very little water, making it a preferred choice of farmers in north Gujarat where irrigation facilities are not easily available.
Eight districts of central Gujarat and 11 Saurashtra districts have reported mustard sowing in 2,400 hecatres (ha) and 1,200 ha respectively while no farmer in the six districts of South Gujarat has sown this crop so far this season.
Gram is another crop whose sowing area has already crossed one lakh hectares in the first three weeks of sowing. Farmers have completed sowing chana in 1.33 lakh hecatres. However, this is around one lakh hectare lower compared to 2.32 lakh hectares in the corresponding week last year.
Gram (chickpea) is mostly grown in Saurashtra and central Gujarat regions and the sowing is done after harvesting groundnut crop. Therefore, the sowing picks up towards the November end and reflects in the state’s weekly sowing data in early December, officers of state agriculture department said.
The 11 Saurashtra districts account for 99,800 ha, or 74 percent, of the total gram acreage so far. At this juncture in the sowing season, Junagadh is the largest gram district with farmers having sown this crop in 20,500 ha. It is followed by Amreli (19,400 ha), Porbandar (15,400 ha), Jamnagar (13,700 ha) and Gir Somnath (10,300 ha). Pathan (12,400 ha). Ahmedabad (8,500) too have reported significant gram sowing.
Farmers have also completed planting operations of sugarcane in 79, 898 ha, wheat in 49,791 ha, tobacco in 19,735 ha. Maize has been sown in 18,835 ha so far; cumin seeds (jeera), another important Rabi crop of Gujarat, has been sown in 8,637 ha, the data shows.