USDA estimates India’s peanut production at 6.2 million tonnes

India’s peanut production will reach 6.2 million tonnes in 2019, up 31 per cent from 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its World Agricultural Production report.

This 31 per cent increase in production is due to ideal weather conditions in the main peanut producing area of Kutch, Gujarat, the report said.

Harvested area is estimated to reach 4.7 million hectares, down nearly 6 per cent from last year, but up 4 per cent from last month. The 4 percent area increase is due to slightly higher planting in Gujarat and higher rabi estimates. Yield is estimated to reach 1.32 metric tonnes per hectare up 39 percent from last year’s low.

Although the southwest monsoon underperformed early in the season, it returned and progressed to the major peanut areas in central India, the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Gujarat produces 47 per cent of total peanut production during the kharif season. Over half of this production is concentrated in the Kutch district of Gujarat.

Cumulative rainfall is up significantly from the long-term average in Saurashtra and Kutch district. Gujarat has had the wettest season since 1981 according to CHIRPS (Climate Hazards Infrared Precipitation Stations).

Currently, rabi season peanuts are being planted. Trade sources are estimating that rabi peanut area will increase from previous projections because of good rainfall and reservoirs used for irrigation are at capacity across the country. As of November 28, rabi planting is near the long-term average.

Peanuts account for about 25 per cent of India’s total oilseed production. There are two peanut growing seasons in India: kharif and rabi. The kharif crop accounts for 85 per cent of the total output, is typically planted in late June and harvested in October. The rabi crop is planted in late October through January and harvested in April.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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