Extended rains lower acreage in rabi season; sowing of gram down 22%

Topics chana | Rabi acreage

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Sowing of gram, one of the biggest pulses grown during the rabi season, was around 22 per cent less than the same period last year (till Friday). 

This was because of the excess moisture in the soil left behind from the extended rains in major growing states, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

According to most market participants, with the ideal time for sowing chana nearing its end, final output could get impacted unless there is a big jump in acreage in the next few weeks. This should ideally push up chana prices in the spot markets. Rates already jumped in the futures on Friday in anticipation of a sharp fall in production in 2019-20.

Chana is the biggest pulses grown in India. And, any increase in the prices will have a cascading effect on the whole pulses complex as well.

The NCDEX December Chana futures on Friday closed at Rs 4,461 a quintal which is Rs 42 more than the previous day’s close, while the January futures closed at Rs 4,465 a quintal, up Rs 38 from previous close.

Though the quoted price is still lower than the 2020-21 chana minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 4,875 per quintal, improvement in prices pushed up the sentiment.

“Going forward, chana production will closely be watched as any drop in output will push up prices,” said a leading trader. In case of wheat, which was the biggest foodgrain grown in the rabi season, area sown till Friday was 9.96 million hectares. This was just 0.28 million hectares less than last year.

Wheat acreage has shown a smart recovery in the last few weeks due to increased sowing in MP and Punjab.

Mustard was sown in around 5.07 million hectares, till Friday. This was 5.44 per cent less than last year. However, in case of both wheat and mustard, the window of sowing is still open and acreage can improve in the next coming weeks.

In total, rabi crops were sown in around 25.10 million hectares till Friday, which was 9.30 per cent less than the same period last year.

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