Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Nov 21, 2005
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Rabi grains sowing trailing, oilseeds coverage up
Chennai , Nov. 20
SOWING in all rabi grains, barring rice, is lagging behind, while the total coverage under oilseeds has increased.
According to a Union Agriculture Ministry statement, wheat has been sown in 19.05 lakh hectares (lh) against 25.37 lh during the corresponding period last year.
Coverage is primarily lagging in Punjab, where it is down by over seven lh.
However, rice is showing a marginal improvement in coverage.
So far, 1.27 lh have been covered against 1.06 lh.
Among the rice-growing States, Tamil Nadu is showing some improvement with the acreage up by 50,000 hectares, while in Andhra it is down by 20,000 hectares.
Sowing in coarse cereals is down a tad at 42.59 lh (43.45 lh). Acreage of jowar, maize and barley is showing a decrease.
Coverage of these cereals is down in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, while it is up in Karnataka and Rajasthan.
Pulses coverage is also trailing compared with last year's progress (39.97 lh vs 40.04 lh). Coverage of gram, the main pulses crop, up to now is 25.09 lh, down 2.91 lh compared with last year. The area under the crop is showing a decline in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, while it is up in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Oilseed farmers seem to be buoyant about their prospects going by the sowing figures.
The acreage under the crop is up by over nine lh at 69.49 lh, with rapeseed/mustard showing great promise.
Sowing in rapeseed/mustard is up 11.75 lh compared with last year at 50.79 lh.
The coverage is primarily up in Rajasthan by over eight lh and Uttar Pradesh by three lh. As groundnut sowing is trailing in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the area under the crop is down by some 70,000 hectares in the country.
Sowing in safflower, sunflower and linseed is down, while it has increased in the case of sesamum.
Coverage of all crops is expected to gather pace in the coming weeks with the water storage level especially being the highest in the last 10 years. The storage level in the major 76 reservoirs in the country is 81 per cent of the full reservoir level of 133.02 billion cubic metres (bcm). The current storage level is up over last year's level by 27.21 bcm and more than the average of the last 10 years' storage by 19.66 bcm.
One encouraging factor of the storage level is that no reservoir has water that is unusable.
But the level in four reservoirs is less than 30 per cent of their designed storage level.
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