| Rajkot |
October 3, 2020 1:17:02 am
While the overall production of groundnut is estimated to be at least 10 per cent higher than the previous Kharif season, the state government and industry body the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) estimate the yield to be low by 17 per cent due to excessive rainfall in August.
Gujarat accounts for almost half of India’s groundnut production. This year, it also accounts for 42 per cent of total area under groundnut cultivation in the county. Farmers of the country have sown groundnut in record 49.27 lakh hectare (lh) this Kharif season — an increase of 19 per cent over the normal crop area. Gujarat accounts for 20.72 lh of that. Kharfi groundnut acreage in Gujarat this year is the highest at least in the past two decades and is almost 34 per cent higher than average of the state.
The increased crop area is likely to result in higher production of the oilseed which is important especially in states like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu for their cooking oil requirements. India is also among the major groundnut exporting countries and had exported 6.64 lt of groundnuts – both kernels and in-shell — valued at Rs 5,096.38 crore in 2019-20.
According to the First Advance Estimate of the Gujarat government, groundnut production in the state is likely to remain 54.64 lakh tonnes (lt) this Kharif season. This is almost 21 per cent higher as compared to the previous year’s estimated production of 45.03 lt. On the other hand, the SEA, the Mumbai-based organisation of cooking oil extractors however, pegs the production in the state to 35.45 lt as compared to its estimate of 32.15 lt production the previous Kharif season. This represents a 10 per cent increase over the previous year.
However, both the government and the industry body agree that the yield would remain low. While the government estimates the yield to fall by 4.6 per cent, the SEA pegs the drop at 17 per cent. The state government estimates the yield to remain 26.37 quintals per hectare this season, lower as compared to 27.64 quintals estimated the previous year as per the Fourth Advance Estimate for 2019-20. On the other hand, the SEA Groundnut Kharif Crop Survey, 2020 estimates the yield at only 17.15 quintals per hectare. That is 17 per cent than 20.70 quintals it had estimated in 2019-20.
The SEA said the excessive rainfall in August has adversely affected the crop, resulting in a drop in yield. “Although area has increased by 33%, yield is down by 17% mainly due to excessive rain and flooding,” the SEA survey report released on Thursday states.
Gujarat has recorded almost 128 per cent of the average rainfall this monsoon. Saurashtra regions has experienced average 174 per cent rain with major groundnut producing districts like Devbhumi Dwarka, Jamnagar, Junagadh receiving 354 per cent , 220 per cent and 172 per cent rainfall respectively. It had rained heavily almost throughout August and till early September. After farmers complained of damage to their standing crops by excessive rainfall, the state government had conducted surveys to assess crop loss and has announced up to Rs 10,000 per hectare compensation to farmers.
The report further adds that the lower yield in Saurashtra, the groundnut bowl of Gujarat, will drag the overall yield in the state down even as north Gujarat will have higher yield as compared to last year. “Despite increasing area in Saurashtra region from 12.66 lakh hectare to 16.40 lakh hectare, the crop is more or less same of the last year, while in North Gujarat, the yield has substantially increased from 1,870 kg per hectare to 2,140 kg per hectare, thanks to normal rainfall,” SEA report said adding that the overall crop in north Gujarat will increase from 5.35 lakh tons last year to 9.10 lakh tons this year.
However, in 10 districts of Saurashtra, cumulative production is estimated to be 26.35 lt, marginally down from 26.80 lt the previous year”, said the SEA.
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