New Delhi: Rice planting is still on in flood affected areas of Bihar, Odisha and Assam reducing the crop area deficit to just 1.3% from previous week’s 2% as compared to last year. The overall planting is also fast catching up last year’s level of 105.58 million hectare, falling short of just 1.68 lakh hectare.

“We expect crop area to exceed last year’s mark as planting is till on and monsoon has not started retreating. Even pulses area will go up as sowing activities is on in parts of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan which are receiving rains,” said a senior agriculture department official adding that the cumulative rainfall in the country is 5% more than the normal rains.

Despite excessive rains and floods damaging crops in some parts of the country, the government is expecting a bumper output of food grains this Kharif in the first advance estimate to be released soon.

“This Kharif also, the output of rice is estimated to cross 100 million mark. Though it will be a tad less than last year’s record production of 102 million tonnes. The overall foodgrains production would also be close to last year’s estimated output of 141.71 million tonnes,” said an official of department of statistics and economics, which releases the advance estimates.

The government has set an ambitious foodgrains production target of 291.1 million tonnes (mt) for 2019-20. As per the fourth advance estimate, the foodgrains output in 2018-19 is estimated at 284.95 million tonnes with rice production estimated at 116.42 million tonnes which includes winter harvest of 14.29 million tonnes.

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“Last year’s Kharif harvest is estimated at 102.13 million tonnes. This year due to floods in 12 states, the output will be little low. But overall rice production is likely to match last year’s level with Rabi output expected to be better due to good late rains and high moisture in soil,” the official said.

A private research agency CRISIL, last month, has come out with foodgrains production data estimating overall output to be down by 3-5% with a drop in rice production by 7%.

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“Feedback and assessment from states say that rice is still being planted in the flood-hit parts of the country. The water receding in these areas make the soil even more conducive for rice planting. We need to factor in these additional paddy growing areas, which are being added after the month of August,” the official said.

As per the latest report by Central Water Commission, which monitors the water storage in 113 major reservoirs of the country, the water available in these reservoirs is 115% more than last year promising a better Rabi harvest.

“The water in these reservoirs will be used for irrigation in the upcoming Rabi season. We expect a bumper production in Rabi as well,” the official said.





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