Bad monsoon will hit India's turmeric production | SupportBiz

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Bad monsoon will hit India's turmeric production

Low supplies with farmers adopting a wait-and-watch stance are pushing up turmeric prices in India, the largest grower and exporter of the yellow spice, but farmer-joy will be short-lived because lower than normal monsoon rains could leave them with little or nothing to sell in the 2012-13 season, said a local turmeric merchants association.

Below average rainfall in the Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra states, three of four key turmeric growing regions, will affect overall production and hit supplies in 2013, said R.K.V.Ravishankar, president, Erode Turmeric Merchants Association.

Moonsoon rains, which account for 70 percent of India's total rains, were 29 percent below normal in June, said a Bloomberg report.

“It is too early to put numbers on production from the ongoing season. We had expected farmers to sow about 50 lakh bags worth of turmeric this season. Unsold stock carried forward amounts to about 40 lakh bags,” Ravishankar said. India produced 100 lakh bags of turmeric in the 2011-12 season. Domestic consumption ranges between 55 lakh bags to 60 lakh bags, said Ravishankar.

Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh finish sowing by April but in Tamil Nadu, the top turmeric growing region in the country, sowing commences in August, Ravishankar said.

Reuters reports that turmeric acreage in India is likely to drop some 30 percent this season, reducing exports in 2013. Farmers are switching to other remunerative crops, the report said.

Turmeric is selling at INR55 per kg at present while the cost of production hovers around INR60 per kg. “Prices will go up further if rains do not revive by mid-August, and lower rainfall will affect ( the 2012-13 season’s) production” Ravishankar said.