Agri Business

Heavy rains cloud kharif oilseed crop prospects in Central India

Rutam Vora, Vishwanath Kulkarni Ahmedabad/Bengaluru | Updated on September 01, 2020

Groundnut area increased by about 40% in Gujarat   -  THE HINDU

- Farmers, experts and trade bodies don’t see much impact on seed availability despite damages

Excess rains in Central India over past couple of weeks have dampened the prospects of a record harvest for kharif oilseeds, mainly soyabean and groundnut.

Farmers had planted more area under these oilseeds crops in States such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat, where heavy rains and flooding have hit the standing crops. In MP, the major soyabean producing state, kharif crops have been damaged in about 7 lakh hectares due to excess rains, according to official estimates, while the crop losses are yet to be assessed in Gujarat and other States.

Excess rainfall

While the August rains have been in excess of 26 per cent over the country as a whole, the worrying factor for the farmers ahead of the harvest is that September rains are also predicted to be higher than normal. Gujarat has received 198 per cent more rains in August, while the surplus was 45 per cent in MP and 39 per cent in Maharashtra.

Tracking the crop losses, soyabean have firmed up in recent weeks from around ₹3,800 per quintal levels to a little over ₹4,000 in various markets. The Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA), the apex trade body, maintained its estimate of crop loss of about 10-12 per cent due to excess rains.

“We retain our crop damage estimate even now. There is no fresh damage reported from other parts of the State. Notably, the country has about 10 lakh tonnes of carry over stock, and we don’t see exports happening at such higher domestic prices. This clarifies that there will not be any impact on the availability of soybean seeds even if there is an estimated damage. The latest price rise is out-of-place and speculative,” DN Pathak, Executive Director, SOPA told Businessline.

SOPA had earlier estimated soybean crop for MP at 58.53 lakh tonnes, which was 40.17 lakh tonnes in the previous year. For the all India-production, SOPA has estimated a crop of 122.47 lakh tonnes against last year’s 93.06 lakh tonnes.

Flood damage

Hanish Kumar Sinha, Head – R&D at National Bulk Handling Corporation, said the floods have damaged the soyabean crop in some places in MP and forecast of higher rains in September could add up to the stress condition. The soyabean production may come down slightly and the decline is expected to be around 15-20 per cent. In the case of groundnut the area has increased by around 40 per cent in Gujarat. There are reports of damages to groundnut crop also due to flooding. A clearer picture will emerge once the flooding position subsides. “Gains from the increase in acreages would be offset by these heavy rains. The exact impact would be known after September,” said Sinha.

Veteran edible oils expert, Govindbhai Patel, noted that excessive rains may surely cause a damage to the kharif groundnut crop in Gujarat. “The extent of damage is difficult to estimate at present. But we believe that such heavy rains in the groundnut growing regions may cause at least about 10 per cent damage to the crop,” said Patel.

However, he added that the damage in the groundnut crop may not result into shortage of seeds for crushing leading to escalation in prices as the crop size is going to be record high this year due to all-time high sowing.

Groundnut crop

New groundnut crop arrival is expected in the second week of October. However, the oilseed was quoted in the range of ₹4,000 to ₹5,125 a quintal at Rajkot markets, which is lower than the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of ₹5,275 per quintal for the season 2020-21.

The spot prices have come down marginally in past one month. Groundnut was quoted at ₹4,700-5,700 a quintal on June 30.

Gujarat has recorded groundnut sowing on about 20.65 lakh hectares thsi year as against 15.5 lakh hectares in 2019. Groundnut cultivation in other States including Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan has also gone up.

Published on September 01, 2020

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