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Vayu-triggered rains lift groundnut sowing prospects in Gujarat

Picking up pace Between June 10 and June 17, area under groundnut in Gujarat jumped from 5,200 hectares to about 22,900 hectares

Planting of the oilseed gathers pace; higher prices lure farmers to plant more

Even before the South-West monsoon made its official entry into Gujarat this year, the recent spell of showers triggered by low pressure following cyclonic storm Vayu, has brightened the prospects for kharif sowing in the State.

Gujarat farmers are showing increasing preference towards the two major kharif crops — groundnut and cotton. Gujarat is the largest producing State of groundnut and accounts for about a third of the country’s output.

Oilseeds acreage down

Though groundnut sowing has gained pace over past two weeks in the State, the area covered under the oilseed, so far, is lower than the previous year.

Groundnut has been planted on about 22,875 hectares (ha) as on June 17 — which is about 40 per cent lower than last year’s 37,788 ha. The overall oilseeds acreage stood at 23,068 ha — down by 40 per cent from 38,473 ha last year. However, overall kharif sowing in the State is down by about 8 per cent to 207,240 ha (225,231 ha).

Bumper crop

Trade sources expect the groundnut cultivation to rise this time compared to last year as farmers see better prospects for the crop.

Gujarat produced bumper groundnut crops for the past two seasons, resulting into a massive procurement activity by State and Central agencies to protect farmers from losses.

“Farmers are all prepared to take up groundnut primarily because of the good prices they got last year. Prices are ruling a little above MSP and there is a strong indication of a further hike in the MSP for next year also. If it rains well in next 8-10 days, we will see robust sowing activity,” said Sameer Shah, President, SOMA.

At present, the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for groundnut is fixed at ₹4,890 a quintal plus the State government’s bonus of ₹110 thus making the effective procurement price at ₹5,000 a quintal.

Groundnut prices hover around ₹5,000-5,220 at the markets in Gujarat.

Rains to the rescue

“The State has received overall about 44 mm rainfall so far which is about 5 per cent of the season’s normal rains. Saurashtra and North Gujarat regions have received nearly 10 per cent of their normal rains. This has helped the drought-hit regions and brightened the sowing prospects for key kharif crops,” said an official from the State’s Agriculture Department.

After the Vayu-triggered rains, groundnut growing districts of Saurashtra saw quick sowing of the oilseed over the past one week. Between June 10 and June 17, area under groundnut jumped from 5,200 ha to about 22,900 ha.

Meanwhile, the Met Department has predicted light to moderate rainfall over the next five days at a few places in Amreli, Bhavnagar, Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagadh — the heartland of groundnut cultivation.

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