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September 2014 Pulse Market Report

Indian pulse harvest may suffer up to 15% loss

After a nearly dry June, there has been a dramatic recovery in the quantity of southwest monsoon rainfall over the last seven weeks across the country, which has brought a sigh of relief among growers, policymakers, and consumers. This has meant that the planting of various kharif crops (rice, coarse cereals, pulses, oilseeds, cotton) has gathered speed. However, concerns over harvest size persist. The country is divided into 36 meteorological sub-divisions of which 19 have had normal rainfall, while the other 17 have faced deficient precipitation so far. The latest available data from the India Meteorological Department showed that all India- area weighted rainfall is still in the negative territory (-18%), with the agriculturally crucial northwest and central parts of the country facing a much larger deficit (-29%) than the national figure would suggest. Growers have been advised to plant short-duration and drought-resistant varieties of

various crops including pulses. Acreage data from the Ministry of Agriculture showed the seeded pulse area at 21.75 million (M) acres, as of August 15, 2 M behind last year’s corresponding acreage this time. Specifically, pigeon pea area is reported to be down by 475,000 acres and moong (green gram) by 850,000 acres. These numbers are by no means final, but a substantial revision from here on looks unlikely. Additionally, erratic precipitation and suspected frugal input management by many growers may affect yields (which already look modest). Pulse production in the 2013 kharif season was 6 M tonnes and 5.9 M tonnes in 2012. The production target for kharif 2014 is 7 M tonnes, a level most unlikely to be achieved. On current reckoning, it is possible to forecast that the Indian kharif 2014 pulse crop could face a shortfall of anything between 10- 15% from last year’s harvest. Weather uncertainties persist. The threat of El Niño is still looming although there is consensus it could be a mild one this time. For production to rebound in the ensuing rabi season, India needs extended rains beyond September, possibly until mid-October. An early withdrawal of monsoon rain can be damaging.

Source: Saskatchewan Pulse Growers


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