Good progress of monsoon in August raises hopes of bumper kharif harvest

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With rainfall intensifying in August after some deficit in July, India is likely to harvest a record kharif crop if the rest of the monsoon season goes well. Till August 7, the overall area under kharif crops was 10% higher year-on-year, driven by factors such as early onset of monsoon, reverse migration of labour and higher minimum support price for some crops. Good temporal and spatial distribution of rainfall aided crop growth.

According to the data compiled and updated till August 7 by the agriculture ministry, the area sown under rice increased 17% year-on-year while that under oilseeds went up more than 15% and area under groundnut shot up 44%. Area under pulses, coarse cereals and cotton increased 4.20%, 3.70% and 4.10% respectively.

The country received normal cumulative rainfall till August 11. The timely rains and spread of the rainfall satisfied the agrarian community.

“If the rest of the monsoon season goes well, we can expect a record kharif crop. The quantum and spread of monsoon rainfall has been good so far,” said Hanish Kumar Sinha, head of research and development at National Bulk Handling Corporation, which plays a major role in storage of the kharif and rabi harvest. “There is some stress in parts of Uttar Pradesh, north Madhya Pradesh and parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan. However, there will be no major impact as Uttar Pradesh has a good network of irrigation, while elsewhere, either it is some minor crops or the rainfall is expected to revive.”

Prerana Desai, head of agri commodity research at Edelweiss Agri Value Chain, said: “This year the kharif sowing was dramatically faster. At most places, the weather is favourable. Though there are reports about pink boll worm and locust attack, I have yet to hear about any adverse impact on the crop.”

There were concerns about the condition of the oilseed crops in the second half of July. However, now the situation looks comfortable as the crop has received the required amount of rainfall when it was most needed, said industry veterans. “The crop condition looks good so far, though there is a need for a spell of rainfall around August 15, followed by some rains every fortnight till the crop is harvested,” said BV Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors’ Association.

The condition of rice crop, which occupies the largest area among kharif crops, is reported to be healthy while the pulses sector is also satisfied with the progress of the monsoon. “We just hope there is no excess rainfall at the harvest time like previous year, which had caused huge losses,” said Bimal Kothari, vice president, Indian Pulses and Grains Association.

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