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Water scarcity to reduce jeera export prospects

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

‘Jeera’ or Cumin seed growing areas of Kutch and Saurashtra in Gujarat, which is the largest grower of the spice, are facing rainfall shortage in the range of 28 to 75 percent.  

As per the Meteorological Department, Kutch district has a rainfall shortage of 74 percent followed by 28 percent in Saurashtra. This has put the dependence on canal water supply from Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada River. But the storage level of the dam also has decreased due to less rainfall in the catchment area in Madhya Pradesh thereby endangering the sowing prospects.

On the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX), cumin seed futures were at Rs 19,490/quintal for near-month expiry against Rs 18,775 on October 1. Spot prices remained at Rs 18,000 to 19,000. Now this is expected to attract farmers to take up jeera in the forthcoming winter sowing season, which will begin from October 15.

President of Seed and Spice Stakeholders Association, Ashwin Nayak said, “The existing price level is attractive for growers to take up jeera. But due to water deficit, it is difficult to forecast the growth and output of the crop. Also in the key jeera growing areas, it is almost a failed monsoon this year. We estimate that primarily showing figures may be may be cheering, but going forward, due to lack of adequate water, the crop may not sustain and the production may drop”.  

As per the trade sources, there is still scope for a further benefit of Rs 500 to 1,000/quintal before the sowing starts. On the other hand, market estimates put exports at about 1.25 lakh tonnes so far and there are chances of it touching a record 1.75 lakh tonnes by the end of this economic year. The maximum export volume was recorded at 1.55 lakh tonnes in 2014.

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