Kharif Sowing Up 88% So Far Despite Covid-19 Crisis: Agriculture Minister
A farmer uses cows to plough his field during the sowing season near Hajipur, Bihar, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Kharif Sowing Up 88% So Far Despite Covid-19 Crisis: Agriculture Minister

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The area sown to kharif crops like rice has shot up 88% to 432.97 lakh hectare so far despite the Covid-19 crisis, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Wednesday.

Sowing of kharif (summer) crops begins with the onset of the southwest monsoon from June. Rice is the main kharif crop.

"Kharif sowing is underway. This time, 432.97 lakh hectare has been covered, up by 202 lakh hectare when compared with the year-ago period," Tomar said in a media briefing.

The sowing acreage has increased by 88% so far and the planting is still continuing, he added.

Tomar mentioned that India's agriculture has emerged stronger during the Covid-19 pandemic as the sector functioned smoothly while other sectors remained shut during the lockdown period.

The estimated higher crop of 152 million tonne during the 2019 rabi season and increase in coverage under summer crops in the ongoing kharif season shows the strength of the Indian agriculture sector, he added.

Tomar also said three recent ordinances that aim to provide barrier-free trading platforms to farmers, and the Rs 1 lakh crore agri-infra fund will further strengthen the sector.

Efforts are being made to provide Kisan Credit Cards to 2.5 crore additional farmers. Already, 6.35 crore farmers have been covered, he added.

According to Agriculture Ministry's latest data, area sown to rice rose to 68.08 lakh hectare till last week, up from 49.23 lakh hectare in the same period during 2019.

The area under pulses also increased substantially to 36.82 lakh hectare from 9.46 lakh hectare, while that of coarse cereals to 70.69 lakh hectare from 35.20 lakh hectare in the said period.

Similarly, area sown to oilseeds increased to 109.20 lakh hectare till last week from 33.63 lakh hectare in the year-ago period.

Among cash crops, the area under cotton increased significantly to 91.67 lakh hectare from 45.85 lakh hectare, while that of sugarcane area rose marginally to 50.62 lakh hectare from 49.86 lakh hectare in the said period.

However, area coverage under jute and Mesta remained lower at 5.89 lakh hectare till last week as against 6.80 lakh hectare in the year-ago, the data showed.

The Meteorological Department has forecast a normal monsoon this year.

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