Agri Business

Gujarat farmers rush for groundnut seeds as monsoon rains approach

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on May 29, 2020 Published on May 29, 2020

Groundnut cultivation in the State is expected to jump by at least 20-25 per cent to hit a record 19 lakh hectares

Mills make a killing as seed prices jump in a short span

Farmers in Gujarat are seen rushing for groundnut seeds as the monsoon rains inch closer with the approaching cyclonic storm next week. Groundnut cultivation in the State is expected to jump by at least 20-25 per cent to hit a record 19 lakh hectares, up from 15.52 lakh ha reported in 2019-20.

A record groundnut area would mean a sharp surge in seed demand. Apart from the State Seeds Corporation, farmers are also queuing up at the groundnut millers, who are finding groundnut seed selling a promising bet amid increased demand.

An official of the Gujarat State Seeds Corporation informed that the demand has been higher as farmers have switched over from cotton crop to groundnut this kharif season. “We expected that there would be a surge in the groundnut sowing because of the issues faced by farmers in the cotton crop last year. We had kept nearly double the stock from what we sold last year. This year, we have already surpassed the quantity we sold last year and there is more demand coming up,” the official informed.

This has pushed up the groundnut seed prices in the market from ₹2,000 per 30 kg to ₹2,800 for different varieties. The State seed corporation, however, provides subsidy of ₹1,200 for each pack. An acre requires about 2-3 packets of seed for the sowing.

Going by the possible rise in the groundnut area, there will be a demand for about 2.37 lakh tonnes of groundnut seeds (as per the calculation of 4-5 packs of seed requirement per hectare), estimates suggest.

Prices, procurement

Saurashtra remains a heartland for groundnut cultivation with over 12.6 lakh hectares under groundnut cultivation — more than 80 per cent of the State’s total groundnut area. Of the two main kharif crops, cotton and groundnut, farmers have preferred the oilseed over the fibre crop primarily for better price prospects and climatic factors.

During last year, groundnut yield has been much better and procurement by the government agencies like Nafed has been robust, which provided farmers remunerative prices at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) rates. The MSP for groundnut for 2019-20 was at ₹5,090 per quintal, whereas the MSP for cotton was kept at ₹5,550.

The market prices for groundnut hovered higher than the MSP for most of the season in the range of ₹5,250-6,495 in Rajkot. Cotton bore the brunt of climatic adversities, pink bollworm attack and reduced yield with its prices hovering in the range of ₹3,500-4,900.

Farmer leader Ajay Vir Jakhar has hinted that 2020 will remain a challenging year with lot of risks associated with cotton and maize. “Both are expected to sell below MSP and last year’s prices. Farmers shouldn’t realistically expect strained finances to be able to give MSP this year,” he said.

Also, experts noted that improved water availability from last year’s good monsoon, and the Met Department’s prediction of timely, normal monsoon this year has brightened the prospects for groundnut cultivation.

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Published on May 29, 2020
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