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Delayed rains brighten prospects of Rabi output: India Ratings

As on 19 September 2019, water level in 113 reservoirs spread across the country was 144.179 billion cubic meter which is 85% of the total storage capacity and is higher than the 74% witnessed last year.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Sep 27, 2019, 03.20 PM IST|Original: Sep 27, 2019, 03.20 PM IST
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According to Ind-Ra, major crops to be affected by the lower-than-LPA rainfall in select meteorological subdivisions are: rice, pulses and sugarcane.
PUNE: India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) believes a higher water level in the reservoirs due to late monsoon rainfall has brightened the prospects of rabi output this year, provided temperature in winter remains conducive for agriculture production. As on 19 September 2019, water level in 113 reservoirs spread across the country was 144.179 billion cubic meter (BCM). This is 85% of the total storage capacity and is higher than the 74% (124.921 BCM) witnessed last year. Average storage in last year 10 years has been 117.65 BCM, which is 70% of the storage capacity.

Despite delayed arrival of monsoon this year and 33% less rainfall in June 2019, the rains picked up in subsequent months and by 18 September 2019, aggregate monsoon rains were 5% higher than normal. After a gap of five years, monsoon rainfall is likely to be more than the long period average (LPA) in 2019. This certainly is good news for kharif production, but equally important is the spatial and geographical distribution of the rainfall as cropping/production pattern of various agricultural commodities across the country is intricately linked to it. Despite aggregate rainfall being higher than LPA, its distribution has been uneven across 36 meteorological subdivisions. From 1 June 2019 to 18 September 2019, cumulative rainfall was lower than the LPA in 16 subdivisions and deficient (more than 19% shortfall) in seven subdivisions.

According to Ind-Ra, major crops to be affected by the lower-than-LPA rainfall in select meteorological subdivisions are: rice, pulses and sugarcane. Lower-than-LPA rainfall in major paddy-growing regions namely Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and East Uttar Pradesh is likely to have an adverse impact on paddy production. As on 19 September 2019, paddy area under cultivation was 5.25% lower than 2018. Compared to 2018, paddy area under cultivation was lower by 0.53 million hectare (mHa) in Bihar, 0.25 mHa in Jharkhand, 0.15 mHa in Karnataka and 0.15 mHa in West Bengal. In case of pulses and sugarcane, the area under cultivation, as on 19 September 2019, was 2.41% and 3.06% lower than 2018, respectively. Pulses’ area under cultivation was lower by 0.19 mHA in Maharashtra, 0.11 mHa in Gujarat and 0.19 mHa in Odisha in 2019. According to the first-advance estimate, production of kharif foodgrains is projected at 140.57 million tonnes (mt) for 2019-20. This is lower than 141.71mt recorded in kharif 2018-19.

"Currently, rice and sugar inflation is not alarming, but pulses are witnessing sustained high inflation. After remaining in deflationary mode during February 2017 and November 2018, pulses’ inflation has been in double digits since February 2019. Any shortfall in pulses production, therefore, will increase our dependence on imports. Pulses have a weight of 0.6% and 2.38% in Wholesale Price Index and Consumer Price Index, respectively. Ind-Ra, therefore, believes higher pulses’ inflation alone may not have a significant impact on the headline inflation, but it will certainly pinch the consumer’s pocket," a release from Ind-Ra said.

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