Planting of summer crop ramps up in India as monsoon revives

MUMBAI, July 15 – Ample monsoon rain in the first half of July accelerated the planting of main summer-sown crops such as soybean, cotton and pulses in India. However, rice planting is still lagging due to scant rainfall in northern states.

Farmers planted summer-sown crops on 59.2 million hectares, as of July 15, slightly higher than 59.1 million hectares a year ago, according to the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare. Crop sowing was down 9.3% until last week.

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The planting of summer-sown crops takes place in the monsoon months of June and July, while harvesting starts in October.

Except for North India, most parts of the country have received above-normal rainfall so far this month, and that has accelerated planting, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading house.

India has received 13% more rainfall than average since the start of the monsoon season on June 1. Still, the weather department data showed that some rice-growing states such as West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had received below-normal monsoons.

The ministry said about 12.85 million hectares had been planted with rice, down 17% from a year-ago period.

The rice planting deficit could narrow to 5% by the end of July since rainfall has picked up, said B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the All India Rice Exporters Association.

India is the world’s biggest rice exporter and accounts for more than 40% of the global rice trade. A reduction in output could prompt New Delhi to curb rice exports. read more

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