New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) Drought and a long dry spell in various parts of the country resulted in a modest decline in the total sown area in the kharif season this year compared with the corresponding period last year, an agriculture ministry official said on Friday.
“Preliminary reports of crop coverage in the kharif season have started coming in. The total sown area as on June 10, as per reports received from states, stands at 71.24 lakh hectare as compared with 76.65 lakh hectare last year,” he said.
According to comparative figures, the declining trend was witnessed in case of rice, pulses, oilseeds, coarse cereals, sugarcane and cotton.
The decline in area under cotton cultivation was the most, coming down to 9.87 lakh hectare to 14.30 lakh hectare, the official said.
Rice cultivation this season was taken up on 5.75 lakh hectare as against 6.42 lakh hectare during the 2015-16 kharif season.
For pulses, the drop was from 2.32 lakh hectare to 1.46 lakh hectare, while for coarse cereals it is 2.01 lakh hectare from 3.82 hectare.
However, officials said, these were only “preliminary” reports and the shortfall in cultivation area for these consumables have been largely due to long dry spell and drought-like situations in many states.
An estimated 25 per cent of country’s population spread over one lakh villages were affected by drought or drought-like situation this year, the government informed Parliament in May.
In April, the Centre expressed a “firm resolve” to tackle the situation arising due to drought and deficient rains, directing that all allocation of funds for the affected states to be done promptly for procurement of fodder.
The government also released over Rs 823 crore to the states for making available potable water in parched areas.