A delayed start followed by poor rains have led to a dip in the sowing of summer crops in India for the monsoon season, beginning 1st June. According to statistics released by the Indian agricultural ministry, there was a drop in sowing by around 27 per cent in 2019 as compared to the same time period in 2018.
The sowing season in India coinciding with the monsoon extends to July-end. In terms of specific crops, around 5.2 million hectares of rice were sowed as part of the monsoon sowing season for the week ending 5th July. For the same time period in 2018, around 6.9 million hectares of rice were sowed.
The shortfall is quite significant since rice is considered to be the most important crop to be sowed in the summer. Around 4.6 million hectares of cotton were sowed up to 5th July 2019 as compared to about 5.5 million hectares sowed in 2018.
Planting of corn, too, had reduced to 2.1 million hectares for 2019 vis-a-vis about 3.1 million hectares sown in 2018. Monitoring the trajectory of rains in India revealed that rainfall continued to be in deficit for the week-ending 5th July, for the fifth consecutive week.
However, given the picking up of monsoon in the Western and Central parts of the country, the deficit is not alarming. Likewise, it is expected that the statistics for the sowing season will be revised after analysing the trends of monsoon for the months spanning June to September in which majority of the country receives its annual rainfall.