Real-time Stock quotes, portfolio, LIVE TV and more.
Aug 16, 2012, 05.52 PM IST
INDIA-MONSOON-SOWING-FACTBOX:FACTBOX - Some Indian crops overcome stress as monsoon improves
By Mayank Bhardwaj and Rajendra Jadhav
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI (Reuters) - India, one of the world's leading producers and consumers of farm commodities such as rice, sugar, corn, cotton and soybean, is facing its first drought in three years that has caused a lag in the planting of some summer-sown crops.
Though monsoon rains picked up in the past week, bringing some respite to farmers and policy makers, drought continues to ravage crops in the western cotton and oilseed areas.
The monsoon rains, vital for 55 percent of Indian farmlands that are not irrigated, are considered deficient if they fall below 90 percent of the 50-year average rainfall of 89 centimetres.
Here are some facts about monsoon's impact on key summer crops.
Farmers sow summer crops in the rainy months of June and July and take in harvests from October. Rice makes up 70 percent of India's summer-sown crops, which in turn make up about half of India's total crop output.
Farmers have so far planted rice on 26.44 million hectares, down from 28.78 million hectares, a ccording to the farm ministry's provisional data.
But experts said improved rains would soften the blow and output could fall by only 4-5 percent. The output of summer-sown rice was at 91.53 million tonnes in the crop year to June 2012.
Top three cane-producing states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka received good rainfall in the past week, except in some pockets where showers were below average.
Recent rains have helped the crop recover but the vegetative growth continues to be slow, resulting in lower-than-normal yield. However, overall planting is higher, with farmers having planted cane on 5.29 million hectares, slightly more than 5.06 million hectares a year earlier.
Despite larger crop area, the Indian Sugar Mills' Association, a producers' body, has forecast sugar output at 25 million tonnes, 1 million tonnes lower than the current season.
Soybean, the main summer-sown oilseed, is expected to remain unharmed as rains sharply improved in the main crop regions of India, the world's top vegetable oil importer. At the least, output is expected to meet last year's harvest of 10.65 million tonnes.
Trade and industry officials said soybean output would cross last year's level if weather conditions continue to be good.
Soybean has been planted on 10.54 million hectares this year, up from 10.01 million hectares in 2011.
Cotton planting in top-producing Gujarat state has suffered due to scant rains. Farmers in the state have sown the fibre on 2.2 million hectares against 2.8 million hectares in the previous year.
Cotton has been planted on 10.92 million hectares in the current season against 10.99 million hectares in 2011. The output is expected to fall as much as a fifth in the year from October. Imports by textile mills are likely to rise.
The corn output is set to fall as production is expected to drop to 12-13 million tonnes, a bout 15-21 percent lower than the previous year, traders said. Corn has been planted on 6.57 million hectares against 6.88 million hectares a year earlier.
A consumer industry official has called for curbs to corn exports from India and traders are worried that New Delhi could concede to the demand as the government keeps an eye on rising prices fanned by drought.
The revival in rains is expected to improve yields, especially of pigeon peas, a long-duration pulse.
Summer-sown pulses were sown on 7.45 million hectares, down from 8.93 million hectares a year earlier. But production is set to fall due to scant rains in June and July, forcing India to import more from Australia, Canada and Myanmar.
COFFEE, RUBBER, TEA
Rains improved in the top coffee-producing Karnataka state but output in the 2012/13 season is likely to be lower than state-run Coffee Board's forecast of 325,300 tonnes. The crop has been hit by white stem borer pest in some areas.
Kerala, the top producer of natural rubber, has so far received 37 percent lower than average rains. But the deficit hasn't affected rubber production so far.
The state-run Rubber Board has forecast an output of 942,000 tonnes for the year ending March.
Tea output in Assam state, the biggest producer, fell in the first five months due to dry weather conditions followed by excessive rains. India's tea output is likely to fall in 2012 from last year's 988.3 million kg. (Additional reporting by Meenakshi Sharma and Deepak Sharma; Editing by Jijo Jacob)
May 18 2013, 17:26
- in MARKET OUTLOOK
May 17 2013, 12:39
- in MARKET OUTLOOK