Farmers may pick pulses over soybean this kharif season

By: |
Pune | Published: July 8, 2016 6:06:14 AM

Pulses could be a major factor as far as sowing operations of soybean across the country are concerned this kharif season.

Pulses could be a major factor as far as sowing operations of soybean across the country are concerned this kharif season. (PTI)Pulses could be a major factor as far as sowing operations of soybean across the country are concerned this kharif season. (PTI)

Pulses could be a major factor as far as sowing operations of soybean across the country are concerned this kharif season. Though there has been no major shift yet in Madhya Pradesh, where soybean planting has almost been completed, industry experts believe that the skyrocketing prices of pulses could end up becoming more attractive for farmers in Maharashtra to some extent.

According to top officials of the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEAI), there have been reports of farmers shifting to pulses in some parts of Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, and Marathwada.

This, however, is unlikely to impact the total output because of the good monsoon, and the association estimates some

85-90 lakh tonne of the total output of soyabean as compared to previous year’s 70 lakh tonne, Pravin Lunkad, chairman, SAEI, said.

Farmers are looking at pulses because of the attractive prices as as well as the high government MSP.

There has been a delay in sowing of soybean across the country as the monsoon has been delayed in some parts of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. While planting has picked up pace, the area under plantation could be a little less than the previous year, senior officials of the Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) said. The soya acreage for last year’s kharif season stood at 110.65 lakh hectares.

MP, Maharashtra and Rajasthan account for 80% of the national soya output. Though sowing has picked up and the cut-off dates for completion of sowing operations are till July 5, officials are still keeping their fingers crossed in the possible alternatives explored by farmers.

Due to poor production for the past two-three years, many soy farmers had planned to sow other kharif crops like maize, arhar, cotton etc. According to industry experts, a drop in soybean acreage is almost certain for the 2016-17 season, though it’s not clear as to what extent the crop may be affected at this point.

However, hopes have soared with the Met department predicting good monsoon nationwide this year. “We hope that this year monsoon would increase the productivity of soybean significantly,” DN Pathak, executive director, SOPA, said. As per official figures, this time soybean has been sown in 2.20 lakh hectare in areas near Indore, indicating that there was no shift in crop sowing pattern despite soy industry facing huge losses.

Arhar has been sown in 1,000 hectare and moong, urad and maize in 5000 hectare in Sanwer, Ujjain, Shajapur and nearby areas.

This kharif season, though soybean farmers across the country faced a shortage of certified seeds since the production of breeder seeds has been affected over the last three years owing to drought conditions, not much impact has been seen so far since majority of the farmers use their own seeds.

Soybean is a 90-day kharif crop. Sowing begins with the onset of monsoon in June, harvesting is done in the second half of September. Officials said the second week of July could provide a more clear picture.

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