Agri Business

Gujarat may see surge in groundnut sowing

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on May 21, 2020

Groundnut output is projected at about 70 lakh tonnes

Farmers shun the fibre crop due to lower price, pest menace

Because of attractive prices, improved water availability and near normal monsoon outlook for the kharif season, groundnut cultivation in the heartland of Gujarat is set to jump this season.

Farmers in the State are increasingly turning towards groundnut cultivation because of better prices as against the immediate alternate kharif crop, i.e. cotton.

Better prices

Groundnut prices hovered in the range of ₹5,250-6,495 per quintal in Rajkot market, much above the minimum support price (MSP) of ₹5,090 per quintal for the season 2019-20.

Cotton (raw kapas) prices, on the other hand, hovered around ₹3,350-4,875 per quintal at Rajkot mandi, about ₹600 lower than the MSP of ₹5,550 per quintal.

“The kharif sowing normally begins about ten days ahead of the onset of monsoon. And farmers usually make their seeds purchases prior to that. But, as of now, we are hearing no buzz about cotton seed purchases. Farmers are more inclined towards the groundnut crop. Compared with last year, the cotton seed demand is about 20-25 per cent lower,” said Kalpesh Patel, a wholesale seeds dealer in Rajkot.

Cotton acreage in Gujarat was recorded at 26,55,000 hectares during kharif 2019-20, lower from 27,12,066 hectares in the previous year. Whereas, groundnut sowing in 2019-20 increased to 16,63,200 hectares, as against 14,67,621 hectares in the previous year.

Advance estimate

Per the third advance estimate of the Gujarat government, total groundnut output for kharif season is estimated at 45,87,000 tonnes, and cotton output is projected at 86,26,000 bales (each of 170 kg).

Experts also attributed the shift away from cotton to the oilseed to pest nuisance in the fibre crop. “Almost every year, there is pink bollworm attack in cotton. This hampers the yield as well as the output. Now the prices are also not so attractive to farmers. Many in this region are turning away from cotton to groundnut,” said Sameer Shah, President of Rajkot-based Saurashtra Oil Mills Association (SOMA), an edible oil body.

Even as the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has continued procurement of cotton at the MSP rates, the fibre prices continued to remain under pressure amid choked value-chain from cotton to garment amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, market insiders said the Central agency, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd.(Nafed) continued groundnut procurement to the tune of 5,000-6,000 tonnes on a daily basis.

Bright prospects

Groundnut has provided farmers good returns and the improved water availability during the summer sowing season has brightened the prospects for the crop with higher yield. Per State government estimates, groundnut yield is estimated to be around 2,758 kg per hectare, which is nearly double from 1,382 kg per hectare estimated for 2018-19.

The IMD has forecast a normal southwest monsoon this year, further improving the prospects for groundnut cultivation.

Published on May 21, 2020

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