All stories by Sanjeeb Mukherjee
Heat wave hurting farmers' income as yields drop across several cropsRediff.com6 days ago
Santosh Patkar of Devgadh Taluka Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra is a worried man these days. Devgadh, which is known as the home to world famous Alphonso variety of mangoes, has seen an unusual drop in yields which is affecting farmers' income. Being one of the primary agricultural produce from the area, Santosh is not untouched by this somewhat rare phenomenon. He said in his own mango garden, yields have come down by a third from most trees.
Why India is unlikely to double farmers' incomeRediff.com2 May 2022
Earlier this month, the Central government said in a reply in Parliament it had taken measures to double farmers' income by the end of FY23 and the progress made so far indicated it was "on the right track". However, a close look at the data and at the assumptions made shows that as of now, it appears the country is unlikely to achieve the goal in real terms.
Wheat export: Madhya Pradesh is ahead of Punjab, HaryanaRediff.com25 Apr 2022
The surge in wheat export from India owing to the Ukraine crisis has once again demonstrated how farmers in states that have flexible marketing frameworks and low taxes benefit more from an emerging situation. The bulk of the wheat exported from India, trade and industry sources say, is being sourced at rates significantly higher than the state-mandated price of Rs 2,015 per quintal in Madhya Pradesh (MP), Uttar Pradesh (UP), and Gujarat - states which have low mandi taxes compared to Punjab and Haryana. This is not only benefiting farmers there but could also lead to significant savings for the states in procurement costs in the months to come.
Despite huge outlay MGNREGA ends FY22 with Rs 20,000 cr negative balanceRediff.com14 Apr 2022
The negative balance is largely on account of pending material cost for the work done under the programme during the year and even earlier.
Onion production likely to be more than last year, potato lesserRediff.com29 Mar 2022
India's potato and tomato production could be marginally less in 2021-22 as compared to the previous year while onion output could be almost 17 per cent more than last year. This was stated in the first advance estimate of horticulture production released on Monday. The government also said total horticulture production is estimated to be at 333.3 million tonnes, a slight decrease of about 1.35 million tonnes (mt)?(or 0.4 per cent) over 2020-21.
India eyeing Ukraine, Russia's wheat market share in 30 countriesRediff.com26 Mar 2022
A decision to tap the 30 countries for exporting wheat was taken at a meeting of the commerce ministry on Thursday.
Ukraine war fallout: Most crops trade above MSPRediff.com25 Mar 2022
The Russia-Ukraine crisis, along with general bullishness in agricultural commodities, has ensured that after a fairly long time, most of the 24 commodities for which the Centre declares the minimum support price (MSP) are trading above it. The exceptions here are chana or gram and a few varieties of pulses. This might gladden the farmers, especially those who are still holding on to their stocks from the previous kharif harvest or are harvesting the latest rabi crop. But this could stoke retail and wholesale inflation.
Wheat stocks in central pool could be lowest in 3 yrsRediff.com23 Mar 2022
India's opening stocks of wheat in the central pool are expected to be 19.5-20 million tonnes as on April 1, 2022, the lowest in the last three years, but much higher than the normative level required for maintaining a buffer and strategic reserve, trade and market sources said. In accordance with the buffer and strategic reserve norms, India should have a wheat stock of 7.5 million tonnes in the central pool as on April 1 each year and this year's stocks, though the lowest in the last three years, will still be over 160 per cent more than what is required. On the export front, both government and trade sources are unanimous that this year (FY22) they will be 7-7.25 million tonnes, a record, while in the next financial year, they might touch even 10 million tonnes if the current momentum is maintained.
FY23 wheat exports could reach 10 mt if Russia-Ukraine crisis persistsRediff.com19 Mar 2022
India's wheat exports could touch a new record of 10 million tonnes in 2022-23, up from a record seven million tonnes in the current financial year, if global market conditions remain choppy and no curbs are imposed on outbound shipments. That is the bullish estimate by officials from global trading firms and market watchers who say the Russia-Ukraine crisis has not only attracted global buyers to India but also pushed the price of Indian wheat from around $320 per tonne (FOB) to over $360 per tonne in less than 10 days. Food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey told reporters that wheat exports till February-end have already reached 6.6 million tonnes and by the end of March, outbound shipments will reach seven million tonnes.
Ration to shasan the key to Yogi's return to power?Rediff.com11 Mar 2022
In the three months leading up to the Assembly elections, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's government distributed over 1.4 million tonnes (MT) of wheat, 0.95 MT of rice, 0.10 MT of chana (gram), 101.9 million litres of soybean oil and 100,000 tonnes of salt as free ration. This was part of the Covid relief package, officials said.
'Neutral' La Nina may bring normal monsoon this yearRediff.com15 Feb 2022
Though early days, meteorologists point towards a neutral La Nina during the initial phase of the four-month monsoon season this year that starts from June. If this holds true, by the time the rains hit the mainland, it could mean there would be one less reason to worry about the prospects of the monsoon this year. Weathermen said making any accurate prediction of how El Nino will behave and what impact it can have on the progress and distribution of rains is difficult to say at this point. A clear picture will emerge around late May or early June.
Centre gives big push for use of drones in agricultureRediff.com22 Jan 2022
The Centre has, perhaps for the first time, decided to provide funding support to farmer-producer organisations, krishi vigyan kendras, custom hiring centres, and individuals for purchasing them.
What will cost India Rs 4 trn?Rediff.com7 Jan 2022
The government's food subsidy in the ongoing fiscal year is expected to be a little less than Rs 4 trillion.
Of all farmers' demands, legalising MSP is tricky and highly complicatedRediff.com6 Dec 2021
Among the key demands of agitating farmers has been a legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP). The protest reached a crescendo when thousands of farmers from Punjab and elsewhere marched towards Delhi late last year and decided to block the main entry points once they were denied entry. The Centre, on its part, held 11 rounds of discussions with the protesters and even offered to amend some of the provisions without much success. With now one of their chief demands met, farmers have now moved on to force the government to concede on MSP.
Uttar Pradesh and its 'sugarcane politics'Rediff.com5 Dec 2021
Nitin Tyagi is a young farmer in Budhagaon village of Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh. A few years ago, Tyagi left his fairly lucrative job in the medical industry and shifted base to his ancestral village to look after his land and property. He opened a small shop selling farm inputs in the village and also started taking a greater interest in agricultural matters which had so far been looked after by his father and uncles. Tyagi and his brothers primarily grow sugarcane, potato and wheat on nearly 10 acres of land with sugarcane taking up most of his time and effort. Being one of the most important and lucrative cash crops of the region, sugarcane is directly linked to the fate of millions of farmers in west UP and with it, the electoral fortunes of political parties seeking their votes in the coming assembly polls.
GDP report card: Agriculture sees 4.5% growth in Q2Rediff.com1 Dec 2021
Gross value added in agriculture and allied activities clocked a healthy growth rate of 4.5 per cent at constant prices in the second quarter of FY22, up from 3 per cent during the same period last fiscal year and 3.5 per cent in Q2 of 2019-20. In the first quarter of FY22, gross value added in the sector was also 4.5 per cent. Growth in current prices was also a healthy 7.9 per cent in July-September 2021-22, up from 7.3 per cent in the same quarter last fiscal year. It was slightly less than the 8.7 per cent of the second quarter of 2019-20.
After farm Acts' repeal, govt may table seeds Bill in Winter SessionRediff.com30 Nov 2021
The Centre, after the repeal of the farm Acts, may bring in another important piece of legislation concerning farmers in the form of the long-pending Seeds Bill. This will be in the ogoing winter session of Parliament. Sources said the draft Seeds Bill, in the way it was prepared in 2019, sought to overcome several of the shortcomings of the Seeds Bill of 2004, which was proposed to replace the Seeds Act of 1966. However, the 2004 Bill could not be cleared owing to deficiencies in it.
Farm laws: Centre to take states routeRediff.com29 Nov 2021
'As far as contract farming is concerned, we already have a model Act and states will be encouraged to adopt them.'
Crucial fertiliser shortage may pinch farmersRediff.com9 Nov 2021
Enthused by rising potato prices after a prolonged slump, Pradeep Sharma was planning to sow the crop on his 15-acre farm near Agra slightly earlier than usual. The delayed departure of the southwest monsoon also prompted his decision, since the good soil moisture would have saved at least one initial irrigation. But the acute shortage of diammonium phosphate (DAP), a crucial nutrient ahead of the sowing season for potatoes, nipped those hopes in the bud. DAP is the second-most used fertiliser in the country after urea.
18 states to impose stock limits on edible oils ahead of DiwaliRediff.com26 Oct 2021
In order to check the abnormal surge in edible oil prices during Diwali festivities, as many as 18 states are in the process of imposing stock holding limits on oilseeds and edible oils after being empowered by the Centre for doing so. Of the 18 states that are in the process of imposing stock limit on my edible oils apart from UP, include Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Kerala, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Of the 18, Uttar Pradesh, has already imposed stock limits on edible oils, the Centre was informed with as many as 23 states to discuss ways and means to ensure further easing of edible oil prices.