Area sown to paddy declined by 5.99 per cent to 367.55 lakh hectare so far in the ongoing kharif season as a shortfall in rains has led to less coverage in some states, according to the agriculture ministry data released on Friday.
Paddy was sown in 390.99 lakh hectare in the year-ago period, the data showed.
It is the main kharif crop, sowing of which begins with the onset of the southwest monsoon from June and harvesting from October onwards.
As per the data, less paddy area is reported from Jharkhand — 10.51 lakh hectare (ha), West Bengal (4.62 lakh ha), Chhattisgarh (3.45 lakh ha), Uttar Pradesh (2.63 lakh ha), Bihar (2.40 lakh ha), and Odisha (2.24 lakh ha) till August 26 this kharif season.
Area sown to paddy remains lower even in Assam (0.49 lakh ha), Madhya Pradesh (0.46 lakh ha), Haryana (0.44 lakh ha), Tripura (0.22 lakh ha), Nagaland (0.21 lakh ha), Meghalaya (0.18 lakh ha), Punjab (0.12 lakh ha), Maharashtra (0.07 lakh ha), Jammu & Kashmir (0.05 lakh ha), Goa (0.03 lakh ha), Mizoram (0.03 lakh ha) and Sikkim (0.02 lakh ha) in the said period.
Besides paddy, there was a 4.95 per cent decline in total pulses area to 127.71 lakh ha till August 26 of the kharif season of the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) against 134.37 lakh ha in the year-ago period.
Tur/arhar area was down marginally at 44.07 lakh ha against 47.20 lakh ha, while that of urad acreage was lagging slightly at 36.15 lakh ha compared to 37.91 lakh ha in the comparable period.
Oilseeds coverage too was lagging as the area coverage was down marginally at 186.48 lakh ha till August 26 of this kharif season against 188.62 lakh ha in the year-ago period.
However, in the case of coarse-cum-nutri cereals, the sowing was slightly up at 176.33 lakh ha from 169.39 lakh ha a year ago.
Among cash crops, cotton acreage remained up at 124.55 lakh ha, and the sugarcane area was slightly higher at 55.59 lakh ha year-on-year. Jute/mesta area remained flat at 6.94 lakh ha till August 26, the data showed.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the country has received 9 per cent higher southwest monsoon rains till August 24. However, east and north-eastern India have reported 19 per cent deficient rainfall in the same period.