Mumbai: Early arrival of monsoon in Andhra Pradesh, the biggest producer of maize and turmeric, may boost acreage of the commodities in the year ending March 2009, traders and analysts said.
Monsoon rains covered most part of the south Indian state on 2 June, three days ahead of schedule.
“If monsoon rains spread normally then we can expect normal production of turmeric and bumper output of corn,” said Poonam Chand Gupta, a large trader and exporter of the two commodities, based in Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh.
“Corn requires less water and in some places farmers have started sowing operations,” Amand Rajalaxmi, analyst in Karvy Comtrade Ltd, said.
India is estimated to have produced a record 18.54 million tonnes (mt) of maize in 2007-08, farm ministry data showed. India produced 15.1 mt of maize the previous year.
Gupta said maize may grab some area under pulses, which provided less returns compared to maize. Maize prices have risen about 20% in the last five months on strong export demand.
“Last year turmeric acreage dropped by 20% due to lower prices. This year early arrival of monsoon and higher prices will prompt farmers to cover that reduced acreage,” said Gupta.
Turmeric is a water-intensive crop, which farmers usually cultivate after the arrival of monsoon rains in June. Harvesting starts from January.
Traders estimate reduced acreage and unseasonal rains may cut output in the year ended March to 4.2 million bags of 70kg each from 5.4 million bags a year ago.
In March, turmeric farmers said they were considering switching from turmeric to more profitable crop as cultivation costs surged due to labour shortage.
However, the spot price rose more than 33% in May, and this will prompt farmers to retain acreage, traders said.
Early arrival of monsoon rains is also expected to help cotton, paddy and tobacco cultivation in the state.