Cumin production estimated to be record 4 lakh tonne | Ahmedabad News – DollarJob

Cumin production estimated to be record 4 lakh tonne | Ahmedabad News

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With the market price of cumin (jeera) seeming to stabilise after four months of extreme volatility, the Gujarat government’s estimates predict lower yields but overall higher production of the spice in the 2023-24 Rabi season. The selling decisions of the farmers will guide the market this year as the carry-forward stock of the previous year is minimal, as per observers.

The Second Advance Estimates released recently by the Gujarat government’s Directorate of Agriculture (DAG) has pegged the per hectare yield of cumin in the state to 7.46 quintals (100 kg make a quintal). This is marginally lower than the 7.77 quintals that farmers had harvested as per the final advance estimates of DAG for the year 2022-23. “The Second Advance Estimates should be treated as a primary survey of crop and yields have been estimated lower this year due to cloudy weather and pest attacks,” a senior officer in the DAG told The Indian Express.

The low yield estimates notwithstanding, the total production of cumin in Gujarat is estimated to be 4.08 lakh tonnes (10 quintals make a tonne) in a new record. The total production in 2022-23 was estimated to be 2.15 lakh tonnes (lt) and the previous record was 3.99 lt in 2020-21. 2019-20 was the only other year when production remained higher than three lakh tonne with the government estimating the size of cumin seed crop in Gujarat that year to be 3.75 lt.

“The higher production is due to the higher sowing area of cumin this year,” the officer said, adding that the jeera acreage in the 2023-24 Rabi season in Gujarat has zoomed to 5.61 lakh hectares (lh) — the highest ever in the state’s history and 160 per cent when compared to the state’s previous three years’ average of 3.50 lh.

Cumin acreage in Gujarat in 2022-23 was only 2.75 lh. The state is the largest cumin producer in India followed by Rajasthan.

Festive offer

The higher production estimates come in the backdrop of the price of jeera having stabilised at around Rs 25,000 per quintal since January this year after extreme volatility during the preceding four months when it crashed from Rs 65,000 in June-July to Rs 25,000.

After peaking at around 65,000 per quintal in June-July, cumin prices started declining in September-October in Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), Unjha, in Gujarat’s Mehsana district. It is the world’s largest wholesale market of the seed spice. The price slid to Rs 50,000 in late October before plummeting to Rs 25,000 by January.

“As the prices of cumin were going through the roof in the domestic market, traders imported 250 containers (each containing 27 tonnes of cumin and thus around 6,750 tonnes in all) of cumin from China. This softened the price in the Indian market,” Dinesh Patel, chairman of Unjha APMC, says, adding “However, the price of Rs 25,000 is similar to what it was at this time of the year when the new harvesting season begins.” Meanwhile, the harvesting season is peaking and arrivals have picked up at Unjha APMC. On Monday, the Unja mandi recorded arrivals of 10,000 bags (each containing 55 kg of cumin) of cumin or around 5,500 quintals. The average price was Rs 2,600 per quintal.

Piyush Patel, president of Unjha APMC Vepari Association, the association of traders of Unjha, says much will depend on how farmers sell their fresh harvest.

“The prices have stabilised as traders and whole-sellers have offloaded their stocks and the market is in a hand-to-mouth situation.
There is negligible carry-forward stock and farmers are the only players who have fresh stock. But at the same time, we are going to have a larger crop size thanks to combined cumin sowing area of Gujarat and Rajasthan having gone up to 12.5 lh from merely 8 lh last year,” he says, adding, “In such a scenario, the market will be guided by farmers’ decision as to when they want to sell their harvest.

If they cart their cumin in a staggered manner, price is likely to remain firm.”

Meanwhile, farmers say cultivation costs have gone up this year. “There was an attack of aphids in December-January and fungal disease in early February. This meant I had to spray more pesticide, taking the average cultivation cost to Rs 60,000 per hectare while bringing yields down marginally,” Ashwin Meghani, a farmer from Holmadh village in Morbi district who has sown jeera in around two hectares, shares. “I will sell my jeera soon after harvest as price of Rs25000 is not bad,” he adds.



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