West Bengal likely to witness higher production of paddy this year

The marginal decline in sowing area and delayed harvesting due to untimely rains notwithstanding, West Bengal is likely to witness a higher production of paddy this year.

According to Pradip Kumar Mazumder, Chief Advisor (Agriculture) to the Chief Minister, a majority of the growing areas have been witnessing a bumper crop so far.

Harvesting of paddy, which commences by end October-early November, has started gaining pace in the State and is expected to be complete by early December.

“We had sown a little less than last year but in most of the areas the crop has seen a bumper production. There have been some pockets of problem. So, we will get to know the total production only after it is aggregated. At this moment, there is no concern of shortfall. This year the productivity has been very good,” Mazumder told BusinessLine.

West Bengal produces close to 10.5-11 million tonnes of paddy during the kharif season accounting for nearly 70 per cent of the total production which is estimated to be close to 15-16 million tonnes a year and nearly 14 per cent of the country’s total production.

As per official estimates, the State has 5.8 million hectares under rice cultivation.

Delayed harvesting

Harvesting of the early variety paddy, which starts immediately after Durga Puja, was impacted due to unseasonal rainfall. Paddy fields across several districts in the State were submerged under water.

However, the common variety, which is harvested usually from the first week of November, was not impacted. The unseasonal rain has also impacted Bengal’s premium variety of aromatic rice – Gobindobhog. The excess moisture in the field has made the crop susceptible to pest and insect attack and has brought down production by nearly 30-40 per cent, Suraj Agarwal, CEO, Tirupati Agri Trade, said.

Paddy procurement by the government has already started from the last week of November and is expected to gain steam moving forward.

Paddy harvesting and production across the major growing areas of the country has been impacted by untimely rains this year and this is likely to bring down the country’s production by 15-20 per cent this year. This would help keep the prices firm, Agarwal pointed out.