MUMBAI (Reuters),JUNE 23: Paddy sowing in West Bengal, India's largest rice producing state, may be affected following an over two-week lull in monsoon rains, and the preparation of seed-bed has been affected, a senior government official said.
"If it starts raining from tomorrow there will not be any problem...but if it does not rain in June at all then it will adversely affect the rain-fed seed-beds," S.D. Chatterjee, director in the state's farm department, told Reuters on Tuesday."The delay in rains has also impacted direct seeding," he added.
Paddy is usually first sown in a nursery or seed-bed and allowed to develop for about 21 to 24 days before transplanting it into the main field. Farmers in West Bengal also under take direct seeding, without growing it first in a nursery. "Sowing is not progressing well...It is time for preparing seed-bed but a delay in rains have impacted the process especially in south Bengal," Chatterjee said.
Early onset of monsoon in West Bengal had given a push to early sowing, but the monsoon's progress was subdued between June 7 to June 21, which has impacted seed-bed preparation. As per data from India Meteorological Department, in the period between June 1 to June 17 monsoon rains were more than 50 percent lower than normal in the state. As per the latest government figures, paddy has been sown in over 0.8 million hectares compared with 0.72 million hectares in the same period last year.