Business News: September rains damage 12% of kharif crops in Maharashtra


September rains damage 12% of kharif crops in Maharashtra : Rashtra News

Heavy rains caused by Cyclone Gulab in Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have damaged standing crops of soyabean, cotton, onion and urad at many places, at a time when the country has been looking forward to the new crop to tame commodity inflation.

Unprecedented rainfall in Marathwada has submerged the soya bean crop. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted formation of Cyclone Shaheen along the Gujarat coast in the next 48 hours, which would continue to pour water along the western coast.

After a year of high commodity prices led by edible oils and pulses, the government, consumers and farmers were looking forward to a good kharif harvest. However, the delayed stay of monsoon may not only increase concerns about commodity prices, but also dampen rural spending as rain-damaged crops will reduce the earning of farmers. The water-logged fields are now waiting for the return of sunshine, but the IMD has cautioned that rainfall may continue till mid-October.

Dheeraj Kumar, Maharashtra’s agriculture commissioner, said: “According to the preliminary estimate (the eye estimate), so far, crops over about 17 lakh (1.7 million) hectares have been affected due to the September rains. It includes soya bean, moong, urad and cotton, which has reported ball rotting due to excess moisture.”

About 1.9 million farmers have sent intimations for insurance claims under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana this kharif season and the number could go up to 2.5 million due to the ongoing spell of rainfall, he said.

Of the 14.5 million hectares sown under kharif crops in Maharashtra, soya bean covers 32%, or 4.6 million hectares. The price of soya beans had hit aall-time high in August.

Vilas Uphade, a soya bean farmer from Latur, is staring at a big loss. Uphade is also chairman of the Vika Agro Producer Company, which has 1,500 farmer shareholders. “As of now, at least 20% of the crop will be lost,” he said. “Though the soya bean prices had crashed by 50% during the last one month, they were still ruling above the MSP (minimum support price). Farmers had high hopes of getting good returns.”

Soyabean Processors’ Association of India president Davish Jain is, however, optimistic. “The situation does not look alarming as of now. Sunshine is needed for maturing of the crop, for the harvest operations and for sun-drying of the harvested crop,” he said.

Research director Hetal Gandhi said while he didn’t anticipate a significant impact on soya bean yield so far, “if the rainfall persists for another week, the yield could be negatively impacted”.

More than 50% of the soya bean crop is produced in Madhya Pradesh. “Weak rainfall in the critical crop growing period of the first half of July and further excessive rainfall in September are likely to impact yield negatively, which could further have a bearing on prices which are already elevated as compared to last year,” he said.

For cotton, which is in the flowering stage, excess rainfall in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Telangana could affect yield, Gandhi added.

Pradip Jain, president of the Jalgaon Ginners’ Association, has reported losses to the cotton balls in the northern Maharashtra region.

Meanwhile, onion prices have moved up by Rs 5 a kg in the past fortnight at Lasalgaon APMC in Maharashtra, to Rs 19. “If it continues to rain for some more days, then there can be some more losses in onion crop,” said Ajit Shah, president of the Onion Exporters Association.

While the return of sunshine is critical to limit crop loss, the weather department is not very optimistic about it. KS Hosalikar, head of the Surface Instrument Division at the IMD, said the department was expecting heavy to extremely heavy rainfall on September 30 in parts of Gujarat including Saurashtra and Kutch and north Konkan. “Central India will continue to get rainfall till October 7. Some parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and adjoining areas may get rainfall till October 15,” he said.

Apart from the crop production and price concerns, industry and traders are also worried that the subdued returns for farmers may put a cap on the high hopes of festival season sales. Latur-based pulses processor Nitin Kalantry said: “Farmers were expecting good returns on crops like soya bean, cotton, etc. Now, if their realisations decline due to excess rainfall and the resulting crop damages, the rural spending can get curtailed to some extent.”

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( News Source :Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Rashtra News staff and is published from a feed.)

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