By admin       2018-05-28

Mounting cane arrears during the current sugar season do not seem to have deterred farmers from bringing more area under sugarcane, according to official data released by the Agriculture Ministry on Friday. The sowing has taken place in a total of 65.52 lakh hectares (lha) so far, which was around 6 per cent lower than 69.84 lha covered during the corresponding period last year. All crops, barring sugarcane registered a drop in area covered as compared to that in same period last year. The cultivated area of sugarcane, on the other hand, increased by 1.75 per cent over that of the previous year. This was despite the fact that farmers have been reeling under the rising cane arrears from sugar mills, which have been plagued by an overproduction of sugar in the 2017-18 season, that resulted in a crash in market prices. Even though these are early days of sowing and better monsoon, as forecast by the India Meteorological Department, may dramatically change the situation. The drop in acreage has been substantial in the case of rice and cotton. The planted area has so far come down by 30 per cent to 7.82 lha and 1.52 lha in cotton and rice respectively. here is substantial reduction in Haryana and Punjab, where early sowing of cotton is normally taken up. The precariously low water storage levels in reservoirs used for irrigation could be one of the main reasons for tepid improvement in sowing. According to data released by the Central Water Commission, on Thursday the average water storage in 91 reservoirs monitored by it was 18 per cent as compared to around 20 per cent during the corresponding period last year.

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