India RegionAgriculture Industry

India: Production of major crops except cotton likely to remain below last year’s level; Challenge for policy makers

13 September 2022, New Delhi: Kharif 2022-23 production of major crops is likely to be slightly below last year’s level and well below the season’s target set by the government. This was stated during a webinar organized by IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with NCDEX IPFT today.
For the first time in the country in the current season, experts at the IMC webinar closely examined the progress of southwest monsoon, planted area and crop status. Forecast of the harvest size of major Kharif crops – covering rice, pulses, coarse cereals, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane – was presented. The key Speakers were Ms. Rajni Panicker Lamba, VP, Philip Capital (India) Pvt Ltd; Mr. Arun Yadav, Sr VP, NCDEX and Mr. G Chandrashekhar, Economic Advisor IMC and Director IMC ERTF

Looking at lower area coverage and lack of precipitation in key growing states in eastern India (UP, Bihar, Gangetic West Bengal, and Jharkhand) rice production is expected to decline from last year’s 111.8 million tonnes to 100-102 million tonnes in the current season. Indeed, the government has already taken note of the decline and has recently imposed restriction in the form of export duty on non-Basmati rice export.

Pulses harvest too will fall slightly below last Kharif’s 8.4 million tonnes, but substantially below the current season’s target of 10.5 million tonnes. Import of pulses to the extent of 3.0 million tonnes would be inevitable, experts noted.

As compared with the production target of 370 lakh bales, cotton production would be in the range of 335-345 lakh bales, noting the slight increase from last year’s weather affected production of 312 lakh bales. Despite slightly higher production, cotton availability is expected to be tight for the user industry because of an anticipated increase in demand.

Oilseeds are unlikely to fare well with Kharif production estimated at 21.5-22.5 million tonnes, below last year’s 23.9 million tonnes and far less than the target of 26.9 million tonnes.

Overall, the harvest size of major crops is set to be smaller than last year’s, except cotton. Weather risk in September and beyond cannot be wished away. All these will have implication for the availability, prices and export/import trade in key crops. It is time for policymakers to take note of this advance guidance and take appropriate measures.

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