Improvement in monsoon rains, mainly over the central and southern regions, in the last few weeks has helped kharif sowing. With sowing complete for most kharif crops such as pulses, oilseeds and cotton, the total area under the summer crops has declined marginally till now compared to the same period last year.
While paddy sowing will continue for the next couple of weeks, there has been marginal decline in the area under pulses and oilseeds, which is expected to result in higher imports for the country.
An agriculture ministry official said showers in the next few weeks are expected to help standing kharif crops.
According to data released by the agriculture ministry on Friday, the total area under all kharif crops is reported at 966 lakh tonne against 998 lakh tonne reported in the same period last year, which is a decline of about 3%.
However, paddy sowing has been marginally higher by last year's data at 350 lakh hectare compared to 349 lakh hectare reported last year,
More area has been taken up in key rice growing states such as Punjab, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha while less area has been taken up in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
An agriculture ministry official said output of kharif rice, which constitutes about 80% of the total annual output, is likely to match the 916 lakh tonne achieved last year. Total rice production in 2013-14 was more than 1,060 lakh tonne.
Pulses sowing declined to 95 lakh hectare till Friday against 100 lakh hectare reported in the same period last year, which is a fall of over 5%.
An agriculture ministry official said while India produced a record 190 lakh tonne of pulses in 2013-14, the output may decline next year by around 5% which may force the government to import around 10 lakh tonne of pulses.
In the case of oilseeds, kharif sowing has fallen by 7.5% till now to 172 lakh hec-tare, with soyabean as the major casualty, recording more than 12% fall in cultivation. However, Indore-based trade body Soyabean Processor Association of India said in its assessment that area under the oilseed would be reduced by 9% compared to 2013 sowing.
Cotton sowing has risen by 9% to 122 lakh hectare from 111 lakh hectare in the same period last year. “Decline in sowing areas under oilseeds and pulses would likely result in more