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Sowing of kharif crops has picked up pace with the southwest monsoon entering an active phase, which has pushed up rainfall across the country to normal levels.

The acreage under kharif as on July 1 was 27.872 million hectares, up from 14.05 million hectares on June 24, reducing the drop in acreage to 5.3% from 24%, according to data from the agriculture ministry.

In the current kharif season, sowing had been done on 27.872 million hectares till July 1 compared with 29.443 million hectares in the corresponding period last year.

“There is sufficient availability of quality seeds of all major kharif crops for kharif 2022, and availability of fertiliser has also been comfortable,” an agriculture ministry official said, requesting not to be named.

Soil moisture conditions are good in some parts of the

region of the country, Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, the official said.

Cotton, maize, soyabean, oilseeds and pulses are the main crops planted in the kharif season.

However, experts said the sowing window for most kharif crops extends until July and, therefore, it is crucial that rainfall is good over the next few weeks.

After an early onset over Kerala, the southwest monsoon had entered a weak phase, creating a rainfall deficit of 43% by June 11. This led to slow sowing of kharif crops, leading to a drop of 24% in acreage as on June 24. Thereafter, it entered the active phase, causing rainfall over several parts of the country and lowering the deficit.

According to officials, cumulative rainfall till July 7 was 222.2 mm, which is touching the normal range of 221.6mm. The daily mean rainfall, which was low during the week of June 22-29, has been staying above the normal level since June 30.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a normal monsoon this year, with rainfall at 103% of the long-period average.

The southwest monsoon season runs from June to September, with the whole country covered by mid-July. It’s the biggest source of irrigation for the country’s crops and is key to the country’s economic revival. Adequate rains will boost crop output and dampen food inflation.

The total live water storage in 143 reservoirs across the country is 177.464 billion cubic meter (BCM) and live storage available in these reservoirs is 53.649 BCM, which is 30% of the total live storage capacity of these reservoirs as on July 7. The current year’s storage is nearly 95% of last year’s level.

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