As the monsoon plays truant this year, the country’s rice output is set to decline from an all-time high as planting is affected, reports said.
India is the second biggest rice producer in the world.
A 22% shortfall in monsoon rains delayed sowing of crops from rice to cotton, stoking a rally in commodity prices.
Rice planting in India dropped 19% to 9.68mn hectares (24 mn acres) this year from 12.04 mn hectares a year earlier, the farm ministry said Jul 13. The country is estimated to export 8 mn tons of rice in 2011-2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, accounting for about 25% of the global trade.
“With the monsoon playing hide and seek, it is a challenge for our farmers and scientists to maintain the food-grain output achieved in last two years,” Farm Minister Sharad Pawar said earlier in New Delhi. The country won’t ban exports of rice and wheat as it has ample stockpiles, he had said.
Rainfall in July, the wettest month in the June-September rainy season, may miss a June forecast for a normal rain, L.S. Rathore, director general of the India Meteorological Department, said on July 16.