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Kharif sowing picks up as Gujarat stays rain deficit

As per the latest data with the Directorate of Agriculture (DAG) of Gujarat, farmers have completed sowing in 25.02 lh, which is 29.25 per cent of the past three year’s annual average Kharif sowing area.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
July 5, 2021 1:30:22 am
A farmer in his groundnut field in Atkot village of Rajkot. (Express photo)

AFTER MANY parts of the state experienced showers early last week, Kharif sowing has picked up pace with total area planted so far this season going up to 25 lakh hectare (lh), more than three times higher when compared to last week’s figure of 6.89 lh.

However, 25 of the state’s 33 districts recorded deficient rainfall during June and forecast of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts dry weather to continue in most parts of the state till July 9.

As per the latest data with the Directorate of Agriculture (DAG) of Gujarat, farmers have completed sowing in 25.02 lh, which is 29.25 per cent of the past three year’s annual average Kharif sowing area. During the corresponding period last year, sowing was marginally higher at 28.44 lh.

Cotton and groundnut are leading the charts with cotton sown in 11.46 lh or 44.89 per cent of last three years’ annual average and groundnut acreage at around 10 lh, 60 per cent of the annual average.

The Central government has been increasing the minimum support price (MSP) of these two crops significantly for the past five years. The government has also been procuring groundnut in significant volumes at MSP from farmers of Gujarat for five years, persuading cultivators to grow more of this oilseed.

This year, the Centre has jacked up groundnut MSP to Rs 5,550 per quintal, more than five per cent higher than the previous year’s MSP of Rs 5,275. The Central government had procured cotton from Gujarat during 2020-21 marketing season and has increased MSP to Rs 5,726 for medium staple variety this year as compared to Rs 5,515.

Saurashtra accounts of 8.98 lh cotton acreage and 9.16 lh of groundnut acreage. The 11 districts of Saurashtra have together reported sowing in 19.56 lh, almost three-fourths of the state’s total area in which planting operations have been completed. North Gujarat has reported sowing in 2.42 lh, central in 1.49 lh, and south Gujarat in 1.04 lh.

After cotton and groundnut, soybean is emerging as a preferred crop of farmers this season. The oilseed crop has been sown in 41,229 hectare or 32 per cent of the previous three season’s average of 1.28 lh. Junagadh (12,700 hectare), Amreli (7,300 ha) and Arvalli (5,000 ha) are leading the tables of soybean sowing at this stage in the season, DAG data shows.

Overall, cereals acreage stands at 74,519 ha (5.50 %), pulses at 44,226 ha (10.27%), oilseeds at 10.56 lh (40.96 %) fodder at 1.74 lh (10.99 %) and vegetables 57,048 ha (19.46 %).

The state received 13 per cent less rainfall in June, when the long-term average is 113.6 milimetres (mm) but the actual precipitation was 98.9 mm. Fifteen of the state’s 33 districts carry large rain deficits in the range of 66 per cent to 99 per cent and other 10 had deficits in the range of 20% to 59%. Eight of 11 districts in Saurashtra carry large deficits of rainfall while one has experienced deficient rainfall.

The state usually starts experiencing good monsoon showers in the last week of June. However, it did not rain much between June 24 and June 30 this year and the weekly deficit for the state was 56 per cent. It was 73 per cent for Saurashtra.

As of July 4, only two districts received excess rainfall and seven others normal rainfall, as per IMD. Of the remaining districts, 19 have registered deficient rainfall and five have large rainfall deficits.

The latest IMD forecast predicts dry weather in most of Saurashtra, central and south Gujarat regions till July 9.

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