Amid COVID-19 lockdown, pre-monsoon sowing of kharif crops has begun across the country with paddy acreage 27 percent higher at 32.58 lakh hectare so far as compared to last season, according to the agriculture ministry.
The sowing will pick up with the onset of south-west monsoon (June-September), which delivers about 70 percent of the country's annual rainfall.
Paddy is the main kharif crop besides pulses and oilseeds.
As per the latest data by the ministry, farmers have sown paddy in 32.58 lakh hectare as on Friday, up 27 percent, from 23.81 lakh hectare in the corresponding period of last year.
Kharif season starts from June and ends in September.
The sowing area has been reported mainly from West Bengal (11.25 lakh hectare), Telangana (7.45 lakh hectare), Odisha (3.13 lakh hectare), Assam (2.73 lakh hectare), Karnataka (1.64 lakh hectare) and Chhattisgarh (1.50 lakh hectare).
Some other states are also on the list including Tamil Nadu (1.30 lakh hectare), Bihar (1.22 lakh hectare), Maharashtra (0.65 lakh hectare), Madhya Pradesh (0.59 lakh hectare), Gujarat (0.54 lakh hectare) and Kerala (0.46 lakh hectare), the ministry said.
Area sown to pulses has increased to 3.97 lakh hectare from 3.01 lakh hectare in the said period. Of which, greengram has been planted in 2.59 lakh hectare and blackgram in 1.23 lakh hectare and other pulses in 0.15 lakh hectare so far.
Similarly, area under coarse cereals has increased to 5.54 lakh hectare so far in the current kharif season of this year from 4.33 lakh hectare a year-ago. Of which, maize has been planted in 2.81 lakh hectare and bajra in 2.51 lakh hectare in the said period.
In case of oilseeds too, the sowing area has increased to 6.66 lakh hectare from 5.97 lakh hectare in the said period. Of which, groundnut has been sown in 4.08 lakh hectare, while that of sesamum in 2.13 lakh hectare in the said period.
Total area planted under all kharif crops has increased to 48.76 lakh hectare so far this season as against 37.12 lakh hectare in same period last year.
To contain the spread of COVID-19, the government has advised farmers to maintain social distancing during sowing of kharif crops besides wearing face masks and using hand sanitizer to avoid any infection.
Meanwhile, the government has also called a national-level video conference on 16 April for chalking out a strategy for sowing the kharif crops, such as rice, and ensuring safety of farmers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Updated Date: Apr 10, 2020 20:51:20 IST