Pulse weekly outlook: Weather threatens India’s crops

chickpeas india
A chickpea crop in India. (Nikhil Patil/iStock/Getty Images)

MarketsFarm — India is experiencing abnormal rain and weather patterns that have resulted in almost half of the country receiving drastically less rain than usual.

In total, the entire country is experiencing about 12 per cent less precipitation than is normally expected.

Particularly, provinces in India’s key pulse-growing region are experiencing significant droughts during a season that typically brings monsoon rains.

According to data from the India Meteorological Department, the province of Rajasthan has received 36 per cent less rain than average, with neighbouring Punjab receiving 37 per cent less. Delhi has also received 58 per cent less precipitation than expected, and Saurashtra and Kutch has received about half as much precipitation than normal.

According to the India Pulse and Grain Association, India is expected to produce about 23 million tonnes of pulses in 2019, down 2.22 million from the previous year.

Since India consumes between 24 and 25 million tonnes of pulses annually, lowered production may be offset by the Indian government releasing nearly four million tonnes of pulse stocks under its national price support scheme.

Strict import restrictions mean India is forecast to import just one million tonnes of pulses, according to a report from Business Standard.

India’s purchase of Canadian pulses has decreased in recent years due to high tariffs.

As the world’s largest producer of pulses, India’s stockpiles are likely to sustain the country’s large demand. However, as worldwide weather patterns become increasingly volatile, there may be some space to negotiate a new trade deal between the two countries.

— Marlo Glass writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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