More water, but rice cultivation yet to pick up

June 18th, 2010 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) Despite the government’s efforts to improve rice production and availability of more storage water this year, paddy has been sown in less area than last year, according to early reports about the kharif sowing season.
Data released by the agriculture ministry Friday reveals that paddy has been sown in 10.97 lakh hectares across the country till June 18. In comparison, rice was sown in 11.73 lakh hectares at the corresponding time last year.

However, the ministry said “the sowing of rice is in very early stage”.

Good reports on rice sowing are coming in from states like Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal where paddy has been planted in more area than last year.

Last years kharif rice production was hit by the erratic monsoon. This year, data from the Central Water Commission says that there is enough water in the reservoirs across the country - an essential commodity for paddy cultivation.

“Live storage of water in the 81 major reservoirs stands at 18.3 billion cubic meter (BCM) on June 17 as compared to 15.6 BCM a year ago,” it says.

In a bid to boost the production of rice, the government had last week raised the minimum support price of paddy by Rs.50 per quintal to Rs.1,000. Government data had last year revealed that the acreage under paddy was reducing.

According to the data, as on Aug 6, 2009, the area under paddy cultivation was 228.19 lakh hectares, down from 285.94 lakh hectares in 2008.

The cultivation of ground nut and sunflower has yet to pick up this year.

Ground nut has been sown only in 0.357 hectares till Friday. It was planted in 0.710 hectares last year till this time.

Meanwhile, early indications about the sowing of pulses, sugarcane, jute and cotton reveals that the area of cultivation this year would be better.

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