Agriculture Current Affair 25 May 2022

Indian agri exports to depend heavily on normal monsoon to come close to $50 billion mark achieved last year

Grape exporter Nitin Agrawal encountered some odd weather events this season. His vineyards in Nashik and five other districts in Maharashtra received excess rainfall in November and December, and then in January, the temperature dipped so much that he had to delay harvesting. Agrawal, MD of Euro Fruits, engages some 250 farmers and exports about 7,000 tonnes of grapes to the UK and Europe annually.

He says the change in weather affected the quality of grapes, particularly their taste. Agrawal isn’t alone in being buffeted by unusual weather. This year, large parts of the nation, mainly north, central and western India, saw early spells of heatwaves, reducing the production of wheat, vegetables and fruits. Agricultural scientist and retired vice-chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Baldev Singh Dhillon, estimates that the unusually high temperatures in March and early April reduced wheat production by 5-6 quintals per hectare, meaning a 10% loss in productivity, apart from losses in horticulture. These early spells of heatwaves and an asymmetrical pattern of rainfall have cast a shadow on India’s momentum on agri exports.

Bitter harvest for Indian farmers after wheat export ban

When New Delhi banned wheat exports as prices soared over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine it provoked consternation abroad and drove the cereal even higher.

Now Indian farmers and traders are fuming they have been denied a windfall as domestic prices have plummeted.

India is the world’s second-biggest wheat producer, but the government — itself the country’s biggest buyer of the crop — said it chose to protect food security for its mammoth population despite inflation concerns.

Punjab targets 12 lakh hectares of paddy area with DSR technique

Punjab’s agriculture department has set a target to bring 12 lakh hectares of paddy area under the direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique, which will be almost double of the area covered last year. According to an official spokesperson, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who also holds the portfolio of agriculture, directed the department to make concerted efforts to bring around 12 lakh hectares under this technique.

The DSR needs far less water for irrigation, improves percolation, reduces dependence on farm labour and improves soil health, thus enhancing yield of both paddy and wheat by 5-10 per cent.

Under the DSR technique, paddy seeds are drilled into the field with the help of a machine that does seeding of rice and spray of herbicide simultaneously. While in the traditional method, young paddy plants are raised by farmers in nurseries first and then these plants are uprooted and transplanted in a puddled field.

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