With the forecast of monsoon rain revised downward, the Union ministry of agriculture has directed states to be ready with contingency plans.
Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan said rainfall would be only 88 per cent of the long-term average from the 93 per cent expected earlier, due to delay in its onset.
“In our early-season meetings with state secretaries, we asked them to increase seed availability by at least by 15 per cent, barring soybean. We have asked states to begin with contingency plans for short-duration crops wherever possible. Also, we have started taking regular updates,” said J S Sandhu, agricultural commissioner.
As against a total paddy seed requirement of 6.43 million tonnes, the government has estimated an availability of 7.38 mt. Total cereal seed availability is also estimated higher at 8.82 mt as against its requirement of 7.7 mt. Availability of oilseeds for sowing is expected to remain, however, lower by around 14 per cent, at 4.21 mt.
The Hyderabad-based Central Research Institute for Dry land Agriculture has identified rainfall-sensitive districts. “We have asked the respective states to concentrate more on these districts. As of now, rainfall forecasts and their slow advancement are not alarming. If the advancement is really slow for 15-20 days or distribution remains uneven, then we would think of an immediate contingency plan,” said Sandhu.
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