• India gets increasingly monsoon-proof in farm output, but some areas still vulnerable

    Indian agriculture’s reliance on monsoon rainfall has reduced considerably over the last few years thanks to the increase in area irrigated, although there are still pockets — particularly in east and central India — where rains still are a decisive determinant of crop. Key grain-producing states Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have most of the cropped areas under irrigation coverage (see table). Unless there is a large rain deficit as in 2009-10 or two successive of years of shortfall in precipitation as in 2014-15 and 2015-16, these states could produce robust crops.Read more


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  • Dal at Rs 50 a kg as Diwali gift on the cards

    Ahead of Diwali, the government may announce a scheme to sell dal (lentils) at Rs 50 a kg to states this week. The Centre is likely to bear a subsidy of about Rs 450 crore. The committee of secretaries headed by the Union cabinet secretary approved the scheme last week. The consumer affairs ministry will issue the necessary notification after food minister Ramvilas Paswan approves it, sources said. As per the plan, the Centre will sell about 2.6 lakh tonnes of pulses from its buffer stocks to five states and Union Territories, including Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Though the procurement costs are different for different pulses such as tur, moong and masur, on an average the purchase cost has been estimated at Rs 68 a kg, sources said.Read more


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  • Poor MSP growth led to farm distress, says Crisil

    Tepid growth in minimum support prices (MSP) of different agricultural products since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government took over was one of the major reasons for the current farm distress, according to an independent research report released on Tuesday. “While the average annual growth [in MSP] between agriculture year 2009 and 2013 was 19.3 per cent, it was only 3.6 per cent between 2014 and 2017,” said a research report published by rating agency Crisil. It added that limited support from the floor price has further depressed market prices. The falling profitability would continue to distress farmers.Read more


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  • Southwest monsoon’s retreat begins after three week’s delay: IMD

    After a three-week delay, the southwest monsoon has started withdrawing from the northern parts of the country, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday. There is an overall shortfall of 5 per cent in rain till now. The retreat of the rains usually starts in the first week of September. Till Wednesday, almost 34 per cent of the country’s 660 districts had received deficient rain; many of these were staring at a drought.  “In view of the establishment of an anti­cyclone in the lower tropospheric levels, substantial reduction in moisture content and dry weather prevailing over the region, the southwest monsoon has withdrawn from some parts of Punjab, Haryana, most parts of west Rajasthan, some parts of Kutch and north Arabian Sea, today (Wednesday),” the IMD said in its weather update.Read more  


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  • Distress sale of pulses hits Maharashtra; state rushes off team to Centre for relief

    Even as the government of Maharashtra is sending its top officials to the national capital to follow up on its proposal to the Centre for the procurement of moong and urad under the government’s Minimum Support Price ( MSP) scheme, farmers have begun distress sales. Maharashtra cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh said the Centre’s permission is expected over the next two to three days, failing which the state government may have to take its own decision. Farmers in the key pulses growing regions of Maharashtra have begun selling moong and urad at distress prices way below the Minimum Support Price (MSP) since a major portion of the produce has been damaged because of the recent rains. The government, meanwhile, has issued circulars to most agriculture produce market committees ( APMCs) in the state, directing them not to allow farmers to sell below MSP.Read more


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  • Signals from sowing

    Hopes that India’s agricultural output for FY18 will match last year’s record performance are now waning. The agriculture ministry’s first advance estimates released this week project a 134.6 million tonne foodgrain harvest for the ongoing kharif season which translates into a 2.8 per cent decline over last year’s output. More importantly, while the estimates indicate higher output of paddy, sugarcane and cotton, they point to a decline in coarse cereals (down 3 per cent), pulses such as tur (down 9 per cent) and oilseeds (down 11 per cent). It is early days for a prognosis about agricultural prospects for the whole of FY18 as the first advance estimates are based mainly on cropping area rather than crop yields. The winter rabi crop, which chips in with half of the foodgrain output and a third of the oilseed harvest, also makes a material contribution to annual output. From the initial signs though, it appears unlikely that we will manage an encore of the 4.9 per cent jump in agriculture GVA (gross value added) which boosted GDP growth in FY17.Read more


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  • Pulses export policy change to take time to fructify

    A year after Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian pressed for lifting ban on export of pulses, the government ended the 10-year-old ban on September 18. This comes in conjunction with the import restriction on tur dal (pigeon pea) to 0.2 million tonnes, and on urad dal (split black gram) and moong dal (split green gram) together to 0.3 million tonnes for 2017-18.  Pulses have thus come a long way — from banned exports and free imports for the past 10 years to free exports limited to three dals and restricted imports with a 10 per cent tax as of today. But, prior to banned exports, India exported a variety of pulses, including urad, moong, masur (lentils), tur and chickpeas (chana). Just after the year 2016-17 that saw the highest availability of pulses — close to 30 million tonnes (mt), including 6.6 mt of imports — India is ready to export them again. Considering the consumption of pulses in India at 22 mt, about eight mt is possibly stocked. Read more  


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  • India’s Ag Ministry Releases 1st Advance Estimates

    India’s Agriculture Ministry just released their 1st Advance Estimates for the 2017/18 Kharif or summer crop. The country’s foodgrain production is estimated at 134.67 million metric tons, down 3.86 mmt in size from last year’s record Kharif crop, but 6.43 mmt or 4.9% higher than the previous five-year average. As seen on the accompanying chart, the summer pulse crop is expected to achieve production of 8.71 mmt, which is .72 mmt or 7.5% below last year’s Kharif crop of 9.42 mmt. While perhaps supportive for prices, this level of production is well above the previous five-year average of 6.5 mmt. This is almost identical to the 8.70 mmt estimate released in the 2016/17 1st Advance Estimate.Read more


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