Rajasthan, Haryana bet on guar; increase acreage
Rajasthan and Haryana, which account for India’s three fourths of guar seed output between them, have increased the acreage a year after deficient rains damaged the crop.
The Rajasthan government has set a target of 26.9 lakh ha this year as against the last year’s 18 lakh ha. Due to arid weather conditions in the guar-producing areas of western Rajasthan, the output in 2009 has been estimated at a dismal 2.01 lakh tonnes, down 80% from the 2008 production. The Haryana government, in anticipation of a normal monsoon, has increased the acreage from 2.5 lakh ha to 3 lakh ha. State agriculture additional director BS Duggal told ET the output is likely to be 3.5 lakh tonnes — up from 3.29 lakh tonnes the previous year. “Last year, the monsoon was deficient by 48% resulting in a shrinkage in the crop size. This time, we expect monsoon to be timely and bountiful,” he said.
The sowing starts in July following the first showers of monsoon in June. Rajasthan contributes around 50% of the total production while Haryana has a share of 25%. The remaining 25% comes from Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Currently, guar seed is traded at Rs 2,300-2 ,400 a quintal in Jodhpur while the prices of guar gum are in the range of Rs 5,300-5 ,350 a quintal. The current season will take off with a low carry-forward stock of around 5-6 lakh tonnes. “If it rains in the first week of June, the prices may drop by 10%-15 % which would be stabilised later. But the outlook seems to be bullish for guar,” says Shree Shanti Enterprises managing director Ashok Burad.
The guar gum industry of Jodhpur thinks the prices are likely to be rangebound due to a slackness in the guar gum export. “For the last few months, there has been a lull in export demands . From last November to January this year, we saw a steady upside movement in gum export with demand coming in from US and Germany. Since Chinese textiles industry is in doldrums following high cotton prices, the demand from China has been completely dried up. Now the European and US markets too seem to be shaky after the recent European crisis,” says Guar Gum Association president Purshottam Kumar Hisaria.
On the other hand, the guar gum industry of Haryana is optimistic about the outlook. Guar gum manufacturer Jai Bharat and Chemical Limited director KS Talwar said the rising export demand is firming up the guar prices. “We have export orders from US, China and other European countries. Demand is mainly coming from oil drilling companies from US. We expect this to remain consistent throughout the year,” he said.
The acreage of guar has been going down in Rajasthan. In 2007, the area under cultivation was 29.10 lakh ha, which dipped to 28.08 lakh ha in 2008 and to 18 lakh ha in 2009.