The Uttar Pradesh government has sought reports from all the 75 district magistrates about the rainfall deficiency leading to shortfall in paddy sowing and other crops during the current kharif season. The government maintains only a 10 per cent shortfall in sowing of kharif crops, which also includes paddy, while as per the estimates of the state agriculture universities, the shortfall in paddy sowing is above 60%.
“I admit that there is rainfall deficiency. We hope there will be sufficient rainfall in the remaining days of this month (September). The state government has sought reports from all the 75 district magistrates and after studying the report, appropriate decision will be taken as per rules and standards,’’ Finance Minister Suresh Khanna said here on Monday.
According to IMD, the pan-India rainfall is above normal so far but there is a deficit in eastern India and northeast.
Rainfall deficiency in UP is as high as 44%, Uttarakhand 11%, Bihar 38%, West Bengal 18% and Jharkhand 26%. The rainfall deficiency in these states has hit paddy sowing and may impact kharif production. As per IMD data, central India and south peninsula have received more than normal rainfall so far. IMD has predicted above normal rainfall pan-India but below normal in east and northeast.
The rainfall deficiency in Uttar Pradesh and other eastern states, which account for one-third of India’s total rice production, has forced changes in the sowing patterns, leading to a decline in paddy cultivation. Less rains will also impact livestock and take a heavy toll on farmers’ livelihoods.
UP had achieved record paddy production in 2021. With acreage under paddy increasing to 60 lakh hectares in 2021 against 58.92 lakh hectares in 2020, the total paddy production was estimated to be 2.5 crore MT.
The rainfall deficiency is likely to cause loss of close to 30 lakh MT in the production of paddy this year.
An official of UP’s Agriculture department said: “Uttar Pradesh will have massive problems with its kharif crop, forcing the farmers to begin sowing other crops. In the areas of Bundelkhand, it would mean the sowing of dalhan (pulses) crops.”
Kharif crops are sown before the beginning of the monsoon season — around May-end to early June — and harvested after the monsoon ends in October. Rice, maize, pulses such as urad, moong dal and millets are among the key kharif crops.
The agriculture sector in India employs almost half of the labour force of the country. India is also the world’s second-largest producer of rice, of which a substantial amount is grown under rain-fed conditions during the kharif season. Thus, the deficiency in rainfall and resultant changes in rice cultivation patterns are likely to substantially affect farmers’ livelihoods and have considerable social impact. The paddy deficiency stands at about 8% today and the overall acreage is down by 5-6%.
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