Despite near normal monsoon, delayed sowing in several important crops could affect food grain output for the fiscal, affecting rural incomes.
The progress of monsoon across the country has been near normal over the period since June 1, 2018 up to July 25, 2018, with the weighted average cumulative rainfall was just 3 per cent short of the normal rainfall, while the margin of error is pegged at 5 per cent. However, the worry is slow progress in sowing in a lot of kharif crops, which was pegged at 9 per cent lower compared to the previous year. If sowing fails to pick up pace in the remaining part of the season, demand growth for cement may get affected, particularly in rural areas.
Major crops like rice, pulses like pigeon pea (tur dal) and black gram (urad dal), groundnut and cotton reported over 10 per cent lower acreage during the current year compared to the same period the previous year. 'A spell of excess rainfall in the Karnataka region had turned out to be worrisome for the coffee planters there. The Kharif acreage this season has been improving for the oilseeds. Owing to deficient rainfall in the eastern regions area, where pulses are sown have been affected,' Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, CARE Ratings said in a recent report.
The progress of monsoon has been satisfactory in the western, central, southern and north west regions of the country till July 25, 2018, with some regions in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Goa and Kerala, reporting excess rainfall. However, some eastern and northern regions, including Delhi, East UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gangetic West Bengal and North East regions, continue to reel under deficient rainfall.
In terms of number of regions, out of 36 regions overall, just 3 regions reported deficient rainfall. And none of the regions fall under large deficient rainfall and no rain category.
Acreage for pulses is down by around 17 per cent compared with last year. Area sown for pigeon pea has fallen by 28 per cent.
Sowing for groundnut is a concern as its acreage has been lower by 21 per cent this year, while soya acreage rose by 10 per cent. 'With the western regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan recording a normal monsoon (last week), a higher acreage for major oilseeds grown in the region can be anticipated.' Sabnavis says. Sugarcane continues to have the highest acreage amongst the very few crops that have had a positive acreage this season.
-BS SRINIVASALU REDDY