Madhya Pradesh farmers shift from soyabean to paddy

Two successive years of soyabean crop damage due to heavy rain are forcing many farmers in Madhya Pradesh to shift to paddy cultivation this season. It is likely the state will have lower-than-normal production of soyabean crop for the third time in a row. Soyabean is the largest oilseed crop of the kharif season in Madhya Pradesh.

Madhya Pradesh was the biggest producer of soyabean until 2018-19, when the output was close to 67 lakh tonnes. However, production dropped to 49 lakh tonne in 2019-20 and marginally improved to about 51 lakh tonnes the following year. Maharashtra emerged as the biggest producer with about 62 lakh tonne in 2020-21.

Due to lower rainfall in the past few days, some farmers, particularly in rainfed areas, are opting for urad as an alternative. The high rate and non-availability of seeds is another reason contributing to the shift from soyabean. 

Sowing area under soyabean in Madhya Pradesh was at 44.7 lakh hectare in July, down 19% from the year-ago level, while paddy acreage was 44% higher at 16.8 lakh hectare in the same period. Urad area was down by over 30% at 9.37 lakh hectare.

Madhya Pradesh has received 2% above normal rain so far since June 1, largely because precipitation was 36% above average in the first month of the June-September monsoon season. Rainfall in July, the wettest month of the season, is expected to be 11-12% below normal in the state.

Soyabean prices in many places in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have crossed a record Rs 10,000 per quintal. This is against an all-India average of Rs 3,904 a quintal, marginally above the minimum support price of Rs 3,880 per quintal, during the key harvesting period October-December 2020. The state government and soyabean processors need to work closely to ensure risk to farmers is minimised either through crop insurance or compensation in case of natural calamities beyond anyone’s control. Madhya Pradesh is yet to take a decision on rolling out the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana for this kharif season.

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