Good rainfall helps farm sector post record kharif crop acreage

  • India has reported an all-time record acreage of kharif (summer sown) crops this year despite the Covid-19 pandemic and flood situation in many states.
  • The area sown under Kharif crops (as of 28th August) has increased to a record 1,082 lakh hectare during the current season. The kharif acreage is expected to increase further as sowing of paddy was still continuing in a few states.
    • In comparison, the entirety of last year’s Kharif season saw sowing in 1,069.5 lakh hectare, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
    • The country’s average sown area in the past five years has been 1,066 lakh hectares.
Good rainfall helps farm sector post record kharif crop acreage
  • This year’s kharif crop sown area was higher than the previous highest India reported in 2016 when the acreage was 1,075 lakh hectares.
  • A majority of states have sown larger areas during the current season. However, Punjab, Nagaland, Tripura and Jammu and Kashmir have sown over lesser land.
  • Sown areas of mainly paddy, oilseeds and pulses contributed to this increase.
    • The area under rice has reached 390 lakh ha, an increase of about 10% from last year.
    • Pulses have been sown over an area of 135 lakh ha, an increase of about 5% from last year.
  • The higher acreage can be attributed to a good monsoon rainfall and proactive measures, taken by farmers and governments during the lockdown period, to beat the impact of Covid-19 on agriculture.
  • Exemptions given to the farm sector during the lockdown period helped farmers continue with their operations – first harvesting Rabi crops and then sowing kharif crops – almost uninterrupted.
  • In fact, during Covid lockdowns across the country, FCI had launched a massive operation to complete procurement and make payments to farmers.
  • With this increase in acreage happening this year despite the Covid-19 pandemic and flood situation in many states, this could spell good news for the rural economy.
  • The development indicates that the farm sector, which remained largely free of lockdown curbs, may continue to register growth despite a shrinking GDP.
  • With an expected Kharif food grain production of 150 million tonnes, the government is expecting that the 2020-21 crop year would report an all-time record output of food grains and cross the target of 298 million tonnes.
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