Agri Business

Gujarat farmers may turn to pulses, castor

| Updated on: Jul 31, 2017
image caption

Floods affect kharif crop in over 7.26 lakh ha

Hit by devastating floods in the key growing regions — Saurashtra and North Gujarat — cotton growers in Gujarat may turn to pulses and castor as the crucial period of the kharif sowing season have witnessed a heavy downpour since beginning of July.

Gujarat is the largest cotton-producing state, with the area under the fibre crop hovering at 25.85 lakh hectares for the current kharif sowing season (June-September).

According to Gujarat Agriculture Minister Chimanbhai Shapariya, about 7,26,856 hectares of farmland has been affected due to floods in Gujarat. “Across Gujarat, 2,789 villages have been affected and we are waiting for water to recede to assess the exact damage to the kharif crop. The affected crops are cotton, groundnut, millet, fodder, sesame-seed, pulses, among others,” said Shapariya.

“Affected farmers who have taken insurance under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) can claim up to 25 per cent of the damage under the scheme. This will be known only after the survey assessment,” he added.

The minister maintained that the worst-affected areas include Jodiya taluka of Jamnagar district, Tankara taluka of Morbi district, Chotila of Surendranagar and the districts of Banaskantha and Patan.

Damage assessment

A Central team will conduct the assessment of damage to the fields. But unofficial estimates suggest about 30-35 per cent of the cotton area has been affected because of the floods and heavy rainfall in the growing regions,” said an agriculture official from the Gujarat government.

While some of the affected farmers may opt for replanting of cotton, many of the farmers are likely to turn to pulses or castor for the kharif planting.

According to representatives of the seed companies, cotton seed demand may remain muted, while short-duration crop such as pulses may gain importance in the flood-affected regions.

“The flood crisis is limited to Gujarat and parts of the East. There has been good sowing in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and North India, where we expect cotton area to increase by 10 per cent,” said one of the representatives.

According to the latest figures, cotton sowing has taken place on 111 lakh hectares, which was 95 lakh hectares last year,” said Nayan Mirani, president, Cotton Association of India (CAI). Mirani added that the floods in Gujarat will have a minimal impact on the national cotton scenario.

Favourable conditions

However, according to ginners in Gujarat, with heavy rains and floods, soil condition and water availability has improved, thereby creating favourable growing conditions for the cotton crop.

“We expect a good cotton crop with improved moisture in the soil and better availability of water. There will be a delay in arrivals of the new crop in the market by about 15 days to a month. This may push up prices in the short run, but the overall crop estimate is positive and we see growth over last year,” said Anand Popat, a cotton ginner from Saurashtra.

Meanwhile, Gujarat has recorded kharif sowing over about 70.18 lakh hectares, out of which 25.85 lakh hectares is cotton, 16 lakh hectares is groundnut and 490,000 hectares is pulses.

Castor sowing has remained sluggish, at about 86,300 hectares, as against the three-year average sowing of 695,000 hectares.

Published on January 11, 2018

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