Prices of six out of nine kharif-grown crops, whose arrivals have commenced at various agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) yards across the country, are ruling above their respective minimum support prices (MSPs). While soyabean is near the support rate, moong (green gram) and bajra (millet) are ruling lower in leading producing States.

According to data from by Agmarknet portal, a unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the average prices of jowar, tur, groundnut, urad (black gram), cotton and maize are ruling 3-54 per cent higher than their MSPs and moong and bajra are 11 per cent and 22 per cent below MSPs in the first two days of the kharif marketing season that began October 1. In some places, the agriculture markets were closed because of holidays, though. Paddy (non-Basmati) rates widely vary from State to State depending on varieties.

Also read: Kharif sowing ends with a bang as overall acreage increases

Signals of low supply

“The crop prices ruling above MSP is a clear indication of lower supply in a particular producing centre. It indicates an important factor that there is an inverse correlation between expected production and arrival till now. The estimated production based on coverage of the kharif area is a litmus test. Having said, this is an evolving picture,” said trade policy expert S Chandrasekaran.

Among the kharif crops, jowar prices in Maharashtra are ruling at an average ₹4,884/quintal against the MSP of ₹3,180/quintal, up 54 per cent. The average rate of maize in Karnataka is ₹2,150/quintal, up 3 per cent from its MSP of ₹2,090/quintal.

The arrivals of many crops may get delayed, particularly in central India due to 49 per cent surplus rains in September, officials said. Farmers will wait to get the crops dried in the field as currently the moisture content is higher and those will not fetch a good price, said a market expert. The arrivals will continue to rise from now on as less rain is forecast during October, the expert said.

Estimates this week?

The Agriculture Ministry is likely to release the first estimates of kharif crops output this week. The government has set a target of 158.06 million tonnes (mt) of foodgrains from the kharif season which includes 111 mt of rice, 9.09 mt of pulses, 24 mt of maize and 13.97 mt of Shree Anna (millets). Besides, 28.37 mt of oilseeds, 470 mt of sugarcane and 35 million bales of cotton (one bale weighs 170 kg) have also been fixed as targets.

According to the final report of kharif acreage, the total area under all kharif crops increased by 0.2 per cent to 1,107.15 lakh hectares (lh) against 1,104.79 lh in the year-ago period. The paddy area has increased by 1.9 per cent to 411.96 lh from 404.27 lh, but the pulses area is lower by 4 per cent at 123.57 lh, compared with 128.98 lh last year. Arhar, urad, moong, kulthi and other pulses acreage ended lower.

Oilseeds acreage was down by 1.6 per cent at 193.23 lh against 196.39 lh, nutri/coarse cereals (including maize), ended higher by 1.8 per cent at 188.02 lh against 184.77 lh. Cotton acreage was down 3 per cent at 123.87 lh against 127.73 lh, while that of sugarcane ended higher by 7.6 per cent at 59.91 lh from 55.66 lh in 2022.