Jul 19, 2019, 11.12 AM IST
Pune: Delayed onset of monsoon rainfall and prolonged dry spell in rainfed areas having tender standing crop have cast concerns over production ofkharif
crops such assoyabean
, moong and urad in the country. India has already stepped up imports of maize and cotton owing to shortages. Despite ample stocks in the country, the government has also increased import quota forpulses
as fears of below normal monsoon have set in motion a rising trend in prices of the vegetative protein.
The country is waiting for a good spell of rains for saving the crops already sown and to sow areas that have not received any rainfall so far. Kharif sowing as on July 11 is 33 per cent below average for this time of year.
Below normal monsoon rainfall in 2018 had pulled down India’s production of the fibre crop, increasing production cost of the vast textile industry. Cotton imports for 2018-19 season are set to be almost double that in the previous year. “We have so far contracted for import of about 30 lakh (3 million) bales (of 170 kg each), of which about 15 lakh bales have already arrived, while the remaining cotton will land by end of October,” said cotton trader Dinesh Hegde. India had imported only 1.58 million bales of cotton in 2017-18. Government body Cotton Advisory Board’s latest estimate has lowered India’s 2018-19 cotton production 6.6 per cent to 33.7 million bales from its earlier estimate of 36.1 million bales issued in November. However, traders’ body Cotton Association of India has projected the 2018-19 crop at an even lower 31.2 million bales in its June estimate.
Oilseeds sowing across the country as on July 11 is down 17 per cent below average. Soyabean, one of the main oilseed crops, is facing danger of wilting due to deficient rainfall in chief growing regions such as Marathwada and Vidarbha. "We are getting reports of severe shortage of soil moisture in Marathwada causing a threat to the standing crop. If we get good next spell of rains, as predicted by IMD, it will prove beneficial for soyabean in both Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra,” said Davish Jain, president, Soyabean Processors Association of India.
The Centre recently doubled the import quota of tur (pigeon pea) to 400,000 tonnes as retail prices of some pulses crossed Rs 100 per kg mark. It also relaxed fumigation rules to ease import of pulses. In Maharashtra, area under different pulses is 15-20 per cent lower than average.
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