Demonetisation has little impact on rabi crop planting, acreage jumps over previous week
NEW DELHI: Rabi, or winter crop, planting increased 36% over the past week, in contrast to expectations in some quarters that the scrapping of high-denomination currency notes would adversely affect sowing.
Winter crops were planted on 327.62 lakh hectares as of Friday, compared with 241.73 lakh hectares on November 18, according to data from the agriculture ministry. The acreage planted is 4.62% higher than a year earlier, when crops covered 313.17 lakh hectares.
The area under pulses, oilseeds and wheat increased from a year earlier, while planting of coarse cereals and rice fell. The government has set a rabi season crop planting target of 638.09 lakh hectares.
Expectations that farmers would run out of cash to buy seeds and fertilisers after the government withdrew 86% of the currency in circulation had fuelled concerns that agricultural productivity would be adversely affected. India had a normal monsoon in 2016 after two years of deficient rainfall, raising prospects for a bumper harvest.
Water levels in key reservoirs were higher, improving the prospects of planting crops after the four-month monsoon season ended in September.
India’s 91 major reservoirs held 105.2 billion cubic metres of water, or 25% more than at the same time last year, as of Thursday, suggesting better availability for winter crops. However, the level was 3% less than the 10-year average, according to data on the Central Water Commission website.
The agriculture ministry said wheat had been sown or transplanted on 127.15 lakh hectares, a 60% increase over the previous week and 8.38% higher than a year ago. Planting was marginally delayed in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
The area under rice cultivation shrank 25.06% from the previous year to 6.82 lakh hectares. The area under pulses—gram, lentil, field pea, kulthi, urad bean, moong bean and lathyrus—covered 95.09 lakh hectares, an increase of 27.55% over the previous week and 7.92% from a year ago.
Planting of oilseeds, predominantly mustard and groundnut, was done on 64.21 lakh hectares, a rise of 14.33% over the previous week and 14.12% over 2015.
Planting of coarse cereals – jowar, bajra, ragi and maize – increased 32.2% over the previous week to 34.35 lakh hectares, although it was 18.9% lower than the previous year.
Source: ECONOMIC TIMES
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