19 April 2020, New Delhi: Amidst the uncertainty prevailing today, the one activity giving hope is agricultural activity, which is also providing the reassurance of food security. All throughout India numerous farmers and agriculture labour are sweating and toiling against all adversities. Their silent efforts, coupled with timely intervention by the Central and State Governments, have ensured that there is minimal or no disruption to harvesting of Rabi crops.
While the Ministry of Home Affairs issued the consolidated guidelines on the measures to be taken for containment of COVID-19, it also ensured smooth functioning of agricultural operations. Timely interventions and exemptions have resulted in optimistic results. The Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs) have been communicated to farmers for their safety and keeping social distancing while undertaking farm related activities. As a result of the proactive steps taken, both harvesting activities of the Rabi crop, and sowing activities of summer crops are being undertaken in a systematic manner.
Of the Rabi crop harvesting, out of total wheat sown in 310 lakh ha, 63-67% has already been harvested in the country. Statewise harvesting has also increased and reached to 90-95% in Madhya Pradesh, 80-85% in Rajasthan, 60-65% in Uttar Pradesh, 30-35% in Haryana and 10-15% in Punjab. Harvesting is in its peak in Haryana, Punjab, UP and is likely to be completed by the end of April 2020. Punjab has deployed 18000 combines and Haryana has deployed 5000 combines for harvesting and threshing.
Of the pulses sown in 161 lakh ha, harvesting has been completed for gram, lentil, urd, mung and field pea. For sugarcane, out of the total sown in 54.29 lakh ha, harvesting has been completed in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab. For the states of Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Haryana and Uttarakhand, 92-98% harvesting has been completed. In Uttar Pradesh, 75-80% has been completed and this will continue till mid May 2020.
Rabi Rice sown in 28 lakh ha over the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura and West Bengal is in the initial stages of harvesting since the grain is still in the filling stage and harvesting times would vary.
Amongst the oilseed crops, Rapeseed Mustard sown in 69 lakh ha has been harvested in the states of Rajasthan, UP, MP, Haryana, WB, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Punjab, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and UT of J&K. Groundnut sown in 4.7 lakh ha, has been harvested to the tune of 85-90%.
The guidance of the Central and State Governments has ensured harvesting activities being completed on time.