Erratic Odisha Rainfall pares paddy sowing 7%, production by 2.6 LMT

For which, State Cabinet led by CM Naveen Patnaik has recently fixed a lower procurement target for the 2019-20 farm season

Bhubaneswar:  Even as Odisha has recorded normal rainfall this Monsoon, the revelation to the fore is the coverage of paddy sowing in State has slid by a whopping nearly 7 per cent till August end.

As per the data available with the State Agriculture Department, the coverage of paddy cultivation till August end this year has been 30.12 million hectare (mha) vis-a-vis of 32.24 mha in August 2018. This shows the paddy cultivation in the State has dropped by 6.6 per cent this year.

Significantly, the State has been witnessing a decline in paddy sowing area since 2016. Because, the normal paddy coverage area for the State during June – August has been estimated at 37.25 mha. So, while the 2018 paddy cultivation was far behind the normal average coverage benchmark over the years, the figures for 2019 have been more discouraging.

And as a consequence, the paddy production in Odisha is going to dip by around 2.6 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) this Kharif season, reveal sources.

According to top sources in the State Agriculture Department, it is for this ostensible reason the State Cabinet led by CM Naveen Patnaik has recently fixed a lower procurement target for the 2019-20 farm season.

It needs to be reminded that on September 27, the State cabinet while announcing the procurement policy for 2019-20 had fixed paddy procurement target for the agriculture season 2019-20 at 60 LMT. It decided to collect around 50 LMT of paddy in the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) starting October 1, 2019 and another 10 lakh metric tonnes of paddy will be procured in the coming rabi season. The worth mentioning fact here is Odisha government had fixed procurement target of 55 LMT for the KMS of 2018-19.

The official reports attribute this decline in the paddy coverage this year in the State to poor rainfall in Balasore and erratic rainfall in other districts like Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Gajapati and Angul. Bolangir has also seen a dip in paddy cultivation, despite the flood like situation in the district between August 13 and 15.