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Jul 12, 2012, 08.23 AM IST
Monsoon rains in India, the world's leading producer of some farm products, have been 23% below average since the four-month season began on June 1, delaying sowing of some summer-planted crops such as rice, lentils and oilseeds.
The annual rains are crucial for farm output and economic growth as nearly half of the country's arable land is rain-fed. The farm sector makes up about 15% of a nearly USD 2-trillion economy, Asia's third-biggest.
Here are some facts about rains and summer crops.
Patchy rains have hit lentils, popularly known as pulses in India. The country will have to step up imports from Australia, Canada and Myanmar if output drops again this year. In the 2011-12 crop year, output of summer-sown pulses fell to 6.19 million tonnes against 7.12 million tonnes in the previous year.
Between June 1 and July 6, farmers have sown pulses on 1.3 million hectares compared to 1.24 million hectares a year ago.
Key growing states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh got less rain, but showers have improved since.
Up to July 6, farmers had planted rice, the main summer crop, on 5.54 million hectares, down from 7.51 million a year earlier. Sowing is lagging in the top producing states of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
Lower water levels in reservoirs and poor rains have also hit states such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Sowing has been picking up after rains in the past few days.
The crop is in poor condition in the top producing state of Maharashtra and in neighbouring Karnataka. In Maharashtra a shortage of cattle feed has led to some cane being diverted for fodder. But overall cane planting in higher in the country.
Farmers in India, the world's top sugar consumer and the biggest producer after Brazil, have so far planted cane on 5.28 million hectares against 5.03 million hectares a year ago.
As the rains turned patchy, the sowing of soybean, the main summer oilseed, got delayed in the top producing states, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. A revival in rains could help sowing.
Until last week, soybean was sown on 1.9 million hectares, down from 2.5 million in the year earlier period.
Groundnut, or peanut, is another important summer oilseed. The key peanut growing states of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have received sharply lower rains, delaying sowing. Farmers have planted peanuts on 0.59 million hectares compared to 0.94 million hectares a year earlier.
Farmers have planted cotton on 4.66 million hectares, higher than last year's 4.28 million hectares, due to early sowing in northern states, such as Punjab and Haryana.
But sowing is lagging behind in the top producing states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, as cotton areas received poor rainfall. Overall area under the crop is likely to drop.
COFFEE, RUBBER, TEA
Poor rains in the biggest coffee producing state of Karnataka could hurt the crop. Dealers say it will be difficult to meet the state-run Coffee Board's output forecast of 325,300 tonnes.
Showers have been 35% below average in the biggest rubber-producing state of Kerala. But the distribution of rains was good, helping the Rubber Board retain its forecast of a record output.
Tea output was hit in the first five months due to dry weather conditions followed by heavy rains in the main growing areas. The weather condition is likely to trim output further.
Jun 19 2013, 16:41
- in FII View
Jun 19 2013, 12:44
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