By Rajendra Jadhav
MUMBAI, Jul 16 (.) – Planting of summer grains in India was delayed as the central and northern parts of the country have received little rain, the government said on Friday, causing fears of inflation and the production of cereals for human food in the third largest economy in Asia.
India is the world’s largest exporter of rice and the leading importer of edible oils. A drop in production could not only limit rice shipments, but also boost purchases abroad of products such as palm oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil.
Indian farmers had planted 61.19 million hectares with summer crops as of July 16, 11.6% less than the previous year, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement.
Farmers usually start planting summer crops on June 1, when the monsoon rains hit India, which lasts until early August.
Planting of rice, the key summer crop, stood at 16.19 million hectares compared to 17.44 million hectares the previous year, the ministry said.
The area planted with cotton was 9.84 million hectares compared to 11.3 million hectares the previous year.
Planting of oilseeds in general, including soybeans, the main summer oilseed crop, reached 12.9 million hectares, compared to 14.9 million hectares at the same time last year.
Soybean planting reached 9.3 million hectares so far, against 10.6 million hectares in the same period last year.
Planting of sugarcane in the world’s second largest producer was almost unchanged year-on-year at 5.3 million hectares.
(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)