The Agriculture Ministry’s Data Shows A Drop in Crop Acreages
As compare to previous year, the country, on the whole, received more rainfall in 2017, spread over the winter, pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon seasons. Yet, the Central Statistics Office expects agricultural growth during 2017-18 to be only 2.1 per cent, as against last year’s 4.9 per cent.
According to the agriculture ministry’s data, a drop in crop acreages this time, both in the kharif and the ongoing rabi planting seasons.
The main reason for drop in crop acreages is the distribution of the rainfall. The whole of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Madhya Pradesh (MP), Chhattisgarh and Vidarbha — even Punjab-Haryana for that matter, though farmers there have access to assured irrigation — has recorded very little rainfall after July. The extended dry spell in this contiguous agricultural belt has affected the rabi crop prospects in particular.
Compared to 2016-17, lack of adequate soil and subsoil moisture has led to a reduction in wheat sowing area by 14.46 lakh hectares (lh) this year. Much of it is accounted for by MP (down 8.64 lh), UP (2.12 lh), Maharashtra (1.65 lh) and Rajasthan (1.49 lh).
The other major rabi crop, rapeseed-mustard, has also registered significant acreage decline of 3.52 lh, led by Rajasthan (7.09 lh) even while partially made up through higher plantings in other states such as UP and MP.
2013 has been the best year, as far as the rains go in recent times. In that yearnot only did the aggregate rainfall turn out above the normal long period average, but its distribution was uniform.