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  Paddy sowing runs late on deficient rains
http://www.economictimes.indiatimes.com/ 07052010
NEW DELHI: Sowing of paddy crop has been delayed countrywide with 13 of the 36 meteorological sub-divisions receiving deficient rainfall up to the
end of June.

Data received from states show that paddy has been sown in 46.46 lakh hectares, compared with 24.12 lakh hectares a week ago. Although that appears to be a marked improvement, it is only about one lakh hectares more than area under paddy cultivation on this date last year, which saw most parts of the country facing a severe drought.

The Indian Meteorological Department said monsoon rains between June 1 and July 1 this year were 16% below 50-year average.

Rains were 20% below average in the north-western region and 24% lower in the central region. The IMD, though, is of the view that monsoons have been delayed but may not be markedly deficient this crucial month when several key kharif crop gather sowing momentum.

Agri economists meanwhile, are of the view that the delay in sowing in several parts of the north including MP, Rajasthan and the north west region, the grain bowl of India, could mean a marked increase in irrigation costs for farmers.

Even high acreage compared to the same period last year may not spell overwhelming good news since last summer witnessed the worst ever drought in over three decades, dragging down not just growth in the farm sector but also overall economic growth.

Worrisome is also the fact that oilseeds have only been sown in 28.86 lakh hectares compared to 11.46 lakh hectares last week. Again, pulses acreage up to June 2 this year is some 3000 hectares less compared to the same time last year, at 5.15 lakh hectares.

Sugarcane acreage, too has gone up compared to last week but only peripherally, to 47.37 lakh hectares compared to 47.28 lakh hectares the previous week.

Sugar estimates are especial food inflation worry given the persistently high retail prices, grossly erroneous production projections by both industry and the government.

Cotton acreage has gone up, however, to almost 44 lakh hectares compared to only 29 lakh hectares last year.

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Paddy sowing runs late on deficient rains
                
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