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Cyclone Gulab Damages Crops Just Before Harvesting

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Crop Damage

Heavy rains caused by Cyclone Gulab destroyed summer-sown crops including soybeans, cotton, pulses, and vegetables just before harvesting in major producing regions, reducing production and raising costs, according to industry authorities.

The lower output might compel India, the world's largest importer of edible oils and pulses, to boost its purchases of these commodities from other countries, while simultaneously reducing cotton exports from the world's top producer.

Cyclone Gulab formed in the Bay of Bengal made landfall on the east coast on Sunday and subsequently fell to a deep depression, dumping torrential rains throughout the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, as well as the western regions of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

"Because soybean prices were favorable, I was anticipating a large soybean harvest and high profits," said Anand Mane, a 35-year-old farmer from Latur, Maharashtra.

"But shortly before harvesting, rain came down and ruined everything," said Mane, whose soybean and sugar cane crops on eight acres were devastated, resulting in a loss of over 250,000 rupees.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra, the country's second-largest producer of soybeans, cotton, and sugar cane, as well as the country's leading producer of summer-sown pulses, got 381 percent more rain than the normal range.

Farmers have increased soybean planting areas, but rain is restricting production growth, according to Davish Jain, head of the Soybean Processors Association of India.

India is expected to produce more than 10 million tonnes of soybeans in 2021, up from 8.9 million tonnes last year, according to industry officials.

However, weather damage might restrict the increase to 9.5 million tonnes, according to a major trading firm's dealer.

According to Chirag Patel, chief executive of Jaydeep Cotton Fibers Pvt Ltd, a prominent exporter, top cotton-producing states have experienced heavy rainfall in the last four days, which has hampered plucking.

"Within a week, the forecast for cotton output had shifted. We had hoped for larger yields, but now they will be lower, and the quality of the harvested crop will be worse at first "Patel said.

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