Kharif rice production may fall 12%, cotton increase 23%: Skymet

NEW DELHI: Rice production in the country during this year's kharif season could drop 12% from last year, while cotton production is likely to receive a 23% increase, said private forecasting agency Skymet In an analysis of the recently concluded agricultural season, we saw an almost excessive monsoon and widespread flooding, but also good rainfall in many areas.

Pulse production is also likely to decrease 4.5% and 12%, respectively, according to the outlook published on Monday.

Skymet gave no estimates for all kharif production. Previous estimates from agencies such as Crisil have forecast a fall this year over the 2018 kharif production, breaking the upward trend of the last three years.

Skymet said rice production could be reduced to 90.04 million tons this season from last year's kharif production estimates of 102.13 million tons. This is almost 10% lower than the first anticipated government estimates published in September, which had set rice production at 100.4 million tons.

The area under rice fell 0.5% this year during the 2018 season, with the largest drop in Karnataka's reported area and (both 15%). Floods and excess rainfall in the second fortnight of negatively affected standing crops in Bihar, while the crop also suffered stress in the pockets of Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Punjab, Skymet said.

For cotton, the agency said that the significant increase in prices in the last season, a better realization of competitive crops along with the late start of the monsoon helped increase the area by 4% across the country.

Skymet estimated that the country's cotton production in the kharif season is around 35.37 million bales, according to the hectares (12.76 million hectares) reported by the government. This is slightly higher than the government's anticipated estimates of 32.27 million bales. Cotton production in the last season of kharif was 28.70 million bales.

The agencies linked the production of legumes to 8.2 million tons, which is similar to government estimates and 4.5% lower than the production of the 2018 season. Skymet said heavy rains on Rajasthan, Karnataka , Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra negatively affected the harvest.