Agriculture Current Affair 9 July 2022

Paddy sowing down by 24%, oilseeds 20% so far due to less rains in some parts: Govt data

The area under coverage for paddy declined 24 per cent to 72.24 lakh hectares so far in the ongoing Kharif sowing season, while oilseeds acreage is lower by 20 per cent at 77.80 lakh hectares because of delay in the progress of monsoon rains in some parts of India, the agriculture ministry data showed. Paddy was sown in 95 lakh hectares and oilseeds in 97.56 lakh hectares in the same period of the 2021-22 crop year (July-June).

The sowing of Kharif crops begins with the onset of the southwest monsoon in June. Paddy is a major Kharif crop.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a normal monsoon this year and the overall rainfall was “close to normal” between June 1 and July 6 this year.

Top food-producing states face rainfall shortage

Monsoon has entered an active phase over India, but rains in several states, including top food producers Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, are still well short of normal levels.

The pickup in rains has accelerated sowing of kharif crops. As per latest government data, the area sown with paddy and other summer crops was 27.872 million hectares on July 1, still less than the acreage of 29.443 million hectares a year earlier, but an improvement from the 24% shortfall the previous week.

In Uttar Pradesh, the largest producer of wheat and sugar cane, rains this monsoon season till Thursday were 55% below the normal mark, or the long-term average, according to data from the government’s India Meteorological Department (IMD). The deficit was 46% in West Bengal, the top producer of paddy, while it was 43% in Jharkhand and 22% each in Odisha and Bihar. Certain areas in Gujarat and Kerala also recorded slightly less-than-normal rains.

Rice faces squeeze on higher fertilizer costs and booming demand

Rice production is under threat in parts of Asia from higher fertilizer costs at a time when demand is increasing, posing a potential risk to food security and efforts to contain inflation.

Crop yields may decline in Thailand, the world’s second-largest exporter, because of elevated prices for crop nutrients, according to a research unit of Kasikornbank Pcl, while in the Philippines, the No. 2 importing country, a lower harvest is likely to increase the need for overseas purchases. China’s worried about the crop impact of pests, while India’s output depends on a good monsoon.

Most of the world’s rice is grown and eaten in Asia, making it vital for political and economic stability in the region. In contrast to the surge in wheat and corn prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rice has been subdued, but there is no guarantee it will remain so. Back in 2008, prices soared above $1,000 a ton, more than double the level now, amid a panic over supplies.

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