Agri Business

Bonanza for basmati farmers in Punjab, Haryana as prices soar

| Updated on: Nov 19, 2012
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Farmers in Punjab and Haryana, who had planted the aromatic basmati varieties this year, are laughing all the way to the bank. Basmati paddy prices have shot up on projections of a lower crop, fetching them 60 per cent higher returns than last year.

Currently, basmati is ruling at an average Rs 2,700 a quintal at mandis in Punjab and Haryana, against Rs 1,600-1,700 a quintal last year. The price band this year ranges from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,500 a quintal, with the premium, traditional basmati at the top end. Last year, the prices ranged from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,200 a quintal.

“We are happy with the prices this year,” said Gurnam Singh, a farmer in his mid-60s from Ali Majra village, who had come to sell his produce at the Rajpura mandi. Next season, he plans to plant basmati on all his 12 acres, unlike the one acre this year.

Similarly, Paramjit Pal Singh, from Gurditpura Nathiyan near Chandigarh, says he too plans to plant basmati on his entire landholding of eight acres next year. This year, he had planted the variety on five acres that fetched a yield of 15 quintals per acre, the same as last year. Paramjit says his per acre net savings this year stood at Rs 30,000 — almost double last year’s.

Exports

Basmati arrival is picking up in Punjab mandis even as procurement operations for the kharif marketing season 2012-13 for common variety paddy has entered the last leg. “The average price has shot up from around a level of Rs 2,200 to Rs 2,700 a quintal in the past 10 days,” says Sanjeev Goyal of Ram Kishan & Brothers, a commission agent at the Rajapura mandi. “We expect prices to move up by Rs 100-200 a quintal in the next few days on firm demand,” he adds.

Goyal’s firm had helped farmers sell about 8,000 kattas (50-kg bags) last year. However, given the lower crop this year, they have sold only 2,000 bags so far and hope to sell more in the weeks ahead.

However, Vijay Setia, Executive Director at Chamalal Setia Export Ltd, says the perceived decline in crop size will not affect availability for exports this year.

Acreage

Citing the satellite survey of the basmati crop area, Setia said the acreage under the Pusa 1121 variety, which forms 70 per cent of the overall area, is the same as it was last year. But traditional basmati and PB-1 varieties have seen a 30 per cent drop in area in Punjab and Haryana.

Setia expects the high-yielding Pusa 1121 variety will help offset the shortfall in production of other varieties.

The overall availability, including the carry-forward inventory of around 1 million tonnes, will be the same as last year, he said.

India exported 3.21 million tonnes, worth Rs 15,450 crore, last year and domestic consumption was 5.5 million tonnes, estimates Setia.

> Vishwanath.kulkarni@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 12, 2018

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