Farmers in the country have commenced sowing of wheat in the country, key rabi food grain, with total area rising 58.7% on year to 914,000 ha as of Thursday, according to data released by the agriculture ministry.
The acreage was also higher than the normal area of 143,000 ha for the period, based on the average of last five years.
Increase in the acreage can be attributed to announcement of higher minimum support price for the crop in 2018-19 rabi marketing season (Apr-Mar), which encouraged growers to bring more area under the crop.
Centre has fixed the support price for wheat at 1,840 rupees per 100 kg for 2018-19, against 1,735 rupees in the previous year.
Sowing was higher in the country’s two leading growers of wheat – Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
To boost wheat cultivation this year, the Madhya Pradesh government has promised a subsidy of 750 rupees per 100 kg to farmers on purchase of certified seeds for sowing in 2018-19 (Jul-Jun) rabi season.
Area under wheat in Madhya Pradesh was 170% higher on year at 586,000 ha as of Thursday, and in Uttar Pradesh, it was 30.9% up at 123,000 ha.
Higher acreage in the two top growing states along with Jammu & Kashmir has offset the fall in other producing states.
Wheat acreage was lower on year in Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, the data showed.
In 2018-19 (Jul-Jun), the government is aiming to produce 100.0 mln tn of wheat, up from 99.7 mln tn last year.
Following is the area under wheat as of Thursday, for the crop year 2018-19, in ha, compared with year-ago figures and change, in per cent:
|State||2018-19||2017-18||Change||Normal area for the season|
|(in ha)||(in ha)||(in %)||(in ha)|
|Jammu & Kashmir||9,000||1,000||800||293,000|
* Total may not tally as some states have not been included.