India Seed firms upbeat on robust kharif sowing
Jun. 24, 2013
Seed companies are upbeat. This kharif season, sowing has kicked off on a robust note, raising the demand for seeds more than anticipated. "With the early onset of monsoon this year, sowing has picked up in most parts. Unlike last year, when a delayed monsoon had spoiled the party for seed companies, this year, we expect demand to exceed estimates," said a senior National Seed Association of India (NSAI) official.
The onset of the southwest monsoon was about a week ahead of schedule. By June 13, northern India, too, recorded rains. As such, most cultivable regions across the country were covered. Cotton, maize, groundnut, soybean and cereals are the key kharif crops, and farmers have already started sowing these in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
India's overall seeds industry is estimated at about Rs 7,500 crore. It is expected this would grow at about 15 per cent a year.
"With the progress of the monsoon, we expect sowing activity to pick up during July. This may boost the demand for seeds. Last year, it was pretty dull, owing to delayed and insufficient rains in key growing regions," said Hasmukh Dabhi from Bhartiya Kisan Sangh.
"Early sowing has cleared most of the cotton seed inventory. Cotton seed demand is robust in parts of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. There is a possible rise in the demand for maize seeds as well," said the NSAI official.
Sources said farmers in states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were increasingly adopting maize cultivation. "This year, there would be a rise of at least five to seven per cent in the demand for maize seeds, owing to the favourable monsoon. Last year, the prices were good; this year, too, these are likely to remain upbeat," said a Bangalore-based person involved in the seeds business.
"Other crops, such as soybean and paddy, would also see a rise. This year, there is increased inclination towards hybrid paddy. The demand for seeds has grown. However, we have not seen 100 per cent widespread rains. Parts of Maharashtra haven't received rains yet," said Sameer Mulay of Ajeet Seeds.
Last year, Indian seed companies had sold about 42 million packets (of 450 g each) of cotton seeds.
"Sowing has not yet picked up in many parts of the cotton-growing regions of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The season has just begun; we expect the demand for cotton seeds to meet the demand seen last year," said a senior official at a leading BT cotton seeds company.
In Gujarat, one of the largest cotton-growing states, cotton sowing was carried out on 5,02,000 hectares during June 1-17, a 107 per cent rise compared to the year-ago period. During the same period, groundnut sowing rose 218 per cent to 3,99,200 hectares, against 1,25,400 hectares in the corresponding period last year.
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