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Farmers set for Kharif sowing season

India gears up for Kharif crop

A drop in daily Covid 19 cases in the country just ahead of the Kharif sowing season aided by an expected normal monsoon has soothed the farmers and policymakers despite hiccups caused by the spread of the infection in the rural area this time.

However, hit by the Covid 19 pandemic, thousands of farmers in the country are moving away from vegetable crops which are perishable in nature and turning to field crops—crops other than agriculture. This is expected to push up production of rice, wheat, millets and other items even more.

However, experts said though a few vegetables may be in short supply due the reluctance of farmers to sow long haul vegetable crops due to a rise in uncertainty, overall the food supply will be in tact. This would mean that the country’s food stocks are in tact which in turn will help in keeping prices in check.

Also read: India could see another bumper crop despite Covid 19

Just a few days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann ki Baat noted that the farmers despite the outbreak of the pandemic, ensured production of a bumper crop followed by government’s record procurement.

“Unlike Covid 1, Covid 2 has hit the rural areas including the farming community, giving rise to anxiety and fear. Though things have started to look up from May 15 onwards, as the number of infected cases has come down, farmers are taking to field crops including cereals,” Venkatram Vasantavada, Managing Director & CEO, SeedWorks International Pvt Ltd told India Narrative.

Agriculture, with its allied sectors, which contributes 39 per cent to the rural economy, forms the backbone of the Indian economy. About 70 per cent of the country’s rural households primarily depend on agriculture for their livelihood, with 82 percent of farmers being small and marginal.

Meanwhile, economists said that going ahead with the vaccination drive will be critical to boost sentiments.

Also read: India's rice exports in 2020-21 is the highest ever by any country, despite Covid-19 blues

“State as well as the Centre are aware of the criticality of the rural sector and its contribution to the economy. The authorities are moving fast in not only containing the spread of the infection but also ensuring that pace of vaccination picks up in the hinterland,” Sanjay Kaul, Chairman, Impact Group of Companies and head of the National Advisory Council, Rural Marketing Association of India (RMAI) told India Narrative.

Kaul added that there could be a dent in economic activities in the first quarter of the current financial year but “things are already looking up and with a good monsoon we expect the situation to be under control.”