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Thursday, August 06, 2020

Farmers ditch short-duration crops for soyabean and cotton, bumper produce expected

Timely arrival of monsoon had seen farmers accelerating their sowing activities. As of July 10, India has reported 580.21 lakh hectares (lh) of sowing as against the 402.57 lh of last year.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune | Published: July 11, 2020 9:47:50 pm
india farming sector covid-19, coronavirus indian farming, indian farmer covid-19, coronavirus india farmers, indian express news Oil processors and solvent extractors have diverted their bajra, maize and cotton area towards soyabean, given the better realisation of last season, according to farmers. (Express photo: Abhisek Saha)

Farmers across the country have increased soyabean cultivation this kharif, with oilseeds reporting the largest year-on-year increase in the country. Oil processors and solvent extractors have diverted their bajra, maize and cotton area towards soyabean, given the better realisation of last season, according to farmers.

Timely arrival of monsoon had seen farmers accelerating their sowing activities. As of July 10, India has reported 580.21 lakh hectares (lh) of sowing as against the 402.57 lh of last year. Barring a few areas in Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal, the country has reported normal or above normal rainfall till date.

By far, the largest increase has been reported in oilseeds, with the country reporting 139.67 lh of sowing as against 75.27 lh of last year. Similarly, cotton, another major kharif crop, has been sown over 104.82 lh, compared to 77.81 lh last year.

The greatest increase in acreage has been reported in soyabean, with farmers sowing the oilseed over 101.16 lh, which last year was 51.66 lh. Groundnut, sunflower, safflower and other oilseeds have also seen an increase in cultivation, but relatively lower compraed to soyabean.

Naresh Goenka, vice-president of Soyabean Processors Association (SOPA), the Indore-based apex body of soyabean processors, attributed the growth to the better realisation received by farmers last season. “Throughout last season, farmers received more than the Minimum Support Price for their produce, which is a reason for farmers going for the oilseed in a big way,” he said.

This year, the crop condition has been satisfactory and if the monsoon continues in its present form, the country may see a bumper crop of soyabean, said Goenka. “All indications are of the crop being grown over 110 lh this year,” he said.

Goenka said this season, prices would be good as the demand for soyameal, the protein-rich solid mass left after the oil is expelled from the oilseed, in the domestic market is expected to be high.

He said the germination failure of seeds had affected just about 2-3 per cent of the sown area. “Everything, however, depends on the rain,” he said. “Overall, we are headed for a bumper crop”.

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