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New Delhi, Aug 8 (UNI) Barring rice and soyabeen, cultivation area of all major kharif crops in the counry has declined this year, agriculture data released today said.

Rice, the most important staple, had been planted in 251.1 lakh hactres till yesterday as against 234.6 lakh hactares till August 7last year, Agriculture Ministry said in a statement. Soyabeen has been cultivated in 91.3 lakh hectares of land as against 83..3 lakh hectares last year.

Total area under coarse grains is lower at 164.4 hectares lakh than 187.9 hactares lakh last year in spite of rains in many parts of the country.

Similarly, area under pulses is still 78.4 lakh hectares as compared to 93.2 lakh hectares last year.

Oilseeds, however, occupy almost the same area at 155.7 lakh hectares this year as against 155.8 lakh hectares last year, the statement said.

Total area under pulses has drastically come down by nearly 15 lakh hectares. This year pulses have been sown in an area of 78.4 lakh hectares, down from 93.2 lakh hectares last year.

Cotton production is also likely to decline this season as its area has almost come down by a million hectares to 80.4 lakh from 90.4 lakh hectares.

Similarly, sugar production, which was surplus last year, will come down this year with area under sugarcane declining to 44.1 lakh hectares from 53 lakh hectares last year. Jute's produce is also likely to come down with reduction in area from 8.3 lakh hectares to 7.4 lakh hectares.

Jowar has been sown in 25.4 lakh hectares, down from 29.6 lakh hectares, while bajra's area has declined from 76.1 lakh hectares to 64.1 lakh hectares. Maize, too, is down to 61.7 lakh hectares from 68.7 hectares, the statement added.

Area under groundnut has also come down to 45.5 lakh hectares from 47.2 lakh hectares Arhar cultivation is down to 25.6 lakh hectares from 28.8 lakh hectares, while that of moong dips to 19.5 lakh hectares from 26.9 lakh hectares. Urad's too has slipped to 17 lakh hectares from 20.3 lakh hectares.

UNI SAA RL KN1915

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