Torrential rains in central and southern India and dry spells in the east threaten to spoil the party for many farmers and lift prices, raising concerns after the nearperfect start to this year’s monsoon triggered an 18% rise in crop planting.
Total rainfall in the country is a statistically healthy above-average 17%, but heavy downpours – 60% to 80% above average – have jeopardised oilseeds in Madhya Pradesh, which produces 55% of India’s soybean.
This has raised concerns about crop damage and bigger imports of edible oils into the country which has been the world’s biggest importer for years. Prices are already rising. In Kerala, cardamom and pepper are at risk because of waterlogging and fungal attacks on plantations as rainfall has been about 40% more than the longterm average.
Trouble is also brewing in eastern India, the country’s rice bowl, where rainfall has been 34% lower than normal since June 1. The weak monsoon has delayed rice planting in India’s largest producer West Bengal as well as neighbouring regions such as Bihar. Late plantation can hurt crop yields. Official inflation data released in July showed that rice was up an annual 19% last month, vegetables rose 16.5%, while onion prices more than doubled since a year ago.
The good news is that if extreme conditions ebb, the country’s food output can leap as total area under kharif crops has jumped 18% to 748 lakh hectares as on July 26. But industry and farmers are worried. Rajesh Agarwal, coordinator and spokeman of Soybean Processors Association, said heavy rains had helped sowing initially.
(Source – http://www.blackseagrain.net/about-ukragroconsult/news-bsg/heavy-rains-damage-soybean-crops-in-madhya-pradesh-cardamom-and-pepper-in-kerala)