New Delhi: The South West Monsoon which had registered its early onset this year is now giving a difficult time to the sowing of Kharif crops including paddy, soybean and pulses.

After a steady advance, monsoon appears to be slipping into a lull after hitting the western coastal states. The Agriculture Ministry in its latest data has termed this reason behind the delay in paddy sowing.

As compared to the last season’s paddy sowing, there has been a steep fall of three lakh hectares of crop. States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are lagging behind in the sowing of the Kharif crop.
Punjab, where the sowing of the paddy crops is normally done by the end of June, is witnessing a deficiency of one lakh hectare.

Worst hit crops

Rice: The total coverage under the crop, as on June 27, is reported at 2.8 million hectares, more than double from the previous week. On June 20, rice acreage stood at 1.2 million hectares.
Sowing has started in most rice-producing states including Punjab, Assam, West Bengal, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir.

Rice is India's most important Kharif crop with a normal acreage of 39.9 million hectares. Uttar Pradesh has the largest area under rice cultivation at 5.5 million hectares.

Oilseeds: Monsoon has advanced into principle oilseed growing states--Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, which are the cultivation and trading hubs for soybean and groundnut, respectively.

Sesamum: Sesamum sowing has declined to 104,000 hectares from 269,000 hectares a year ago. Nigerseed sowing has started but the acreage is only 2,000 hectares against 7,000 hectares last year. Acreage of castorseed is 10,000 versus 30,000 last year.

Weak monsoon
Though the country received 11 per cent excess rainfall than the normal of 155.4 mm in June, monsoon had made no further progress in the past five days leaving parts of Rajasthan and north Gujarat yearning for seasonal rains.

"Consequently, weaker monsoon conditions may prevail during the next week (July 2-8)," the weather office said. The weather outlook for the subsequent week (July 9-15) also indicates that weak monsoon conditions may prevail over the country, the IMD said.

As of now, the country had received a rainfall of 11 per cent more than the normal for the month. Out of the 36 meteorological subdivisions, 26 have received normal or excess rainfall.
The North-West India led the table with a rainfall of 72 per cent more than the normal, followed by Central India (9 per cent), south peninsular region (-4 per cent] and the east and north-east (-6 per cent).

In area-wise distribution, 74 per cent area of the country received excess/normal rainfall while remaining 26 per cent area received deficient/scanty rainfall.