Dark clouds loom over agriculture due to low paddy sowing and mango farmers’ woes

Farmers have sown a lesser amount of paddy crops this kharif season. Mango farmers are also suffering this season due to several issues.

Dark clouds loom over agriculture due to low paddy sowing and mango farmers’ woes

Photo: Saumendra/Pixabay

Planting of paddy, the primary kharif crop, has begun in places that have received monsoon rains and it is accelerating as the monsoon moves through different regions of India, Agriculture Commissioner PK Singh informed the press on Tuesday, June 20th. 

“Paddy sowing has just started and it has been good so far in areas which have received rainfall. It is picking up as the monsoon progresses in different parts of the country”, Singh said. He added that farmers have started preparing nurseries in certain areas.

In nurseries, the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants. The plants are then uprooted and replanted in the main field.

According to data from the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the area planted with paddy up to last week was down 14.66%, at 532,000 hectares, compared to 623,000 hectares during the same period last year.

The agriculture commissioner stated that pulses are cultivated in rain-fed regions and that sowing would increase as the monsoon rains develop. According to the statistics, 180,000 hectares of pulses were seeded until the last week of the 2023 kharif season, compared to 422,000 lakh hectares during the same period last year. 

Oilseed sowing area also remained somewhat lower, at 411,000 hectares, up until last week. However, the sowing area of coarse cereal has increased to 1.24m hectares, up until June 16th. 

 Paddy is the principal kharif crop, and its planting often begins when the southwest monsoon arrives. The kharif season accounts for over 80% of all rice output in India.

While falling paddy sowing is slow vis-a-vis last year on the one hand, on the other, mango farmers of West Bengal need help to recoup the cost of production despite this season’s record yield. 

Due to excessive losses in cultivation, mango farmers of Malda district in West Bengal have sought the state government’s intervention, a merchant’s body said on Tuesday.

It has urged the government to step in and offer incentives to promote increased fruit exports from Malda to other countries and states.

The body has also sought standard testing and export facilitation centres in Malda, as well as a mango processing facility to support growers and the regional economy.

While the slow sowing of paddy, despite the agriculture commissioner’s ebullience, can affect India’s overall rice production in 2023, the challenges faced by the mango farmers can also snowball into a major threat to the local economy of West Bengal’s Malda district. It’s yet to be seen how the government intervenes in both cases and resolves the issues. 

Ritika passionately reports on current affairs, conflicts and politics. Ritika pursued BA in Mass Communication from St Xavier’s University, Kolkata. She loves watching films or reading when she isn't chasing the news.

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