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Guar seed prices up as demand rises

Prices jump 15% in the last 2 days due to sudden spurt in demand following scattered rainfall in Rajasthan

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With the first showers of monsoon, the price of sowing quality guar seed has jumped 15 per cent in the last two days.

The monsoon has entered some parts of Rajasthan, with scattered rainfall received in the eastern and southern parts of the state. Some areas bordering Madhya Pradesh have also received marginal rainfall, which provided adequate moisture for sowing guar seed. Consequently, farmers in these areas secured their portion of the required seed resulting in the price of sowing quality seed hitting a high of Rs 145 a kg in Jodhpur, up from Rs 120 a kg two days ago.

Similarly, high yielding seeds sold by many professional bio-tech companies are currently available at Rs 180-200 a kg, a rise of at least Rs 20-25 a kg since the beginning of the week. Stockists, meanwhile, are releasing guar seed in limited quantity amid expectations of further price spurt with intensified monsoon rainfall in the coming days.

“With the price hitting an abnormally high Rs 330 a kg last year, farmers and stockists sold the entire quantity of seeds. Consequently, quality seed is in short supply, the main reason for the price spurt,” said Purushottam Isaria, president, All India Guar Gum Manufacturers Association.

Recently, the Hyderabad-based Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, a national institute that carries out basic and applied research in rain-fed farming, had forecast 10-15 per cent decline in guar seed production this year, due to 72 per cent deficiency in monsoon rainfall so far this season. Further, its director B Venkateswarlu, had estimated guar seed output to decline further, to even 25 per cent.

According to Isaria, the sowing area, germination of seed and overall growth in plant depend heavily on monsoon rainfall. Since, the kharif plant requires four-five spells of three-four inches of water logging, rainfall during the overall 90-day crop remains important. The ideal season for guar seed sowing begins around July 15 for harvesting in the first week of October.

“Large farmers have already sown guar in the irrigated land early this season, especially in regions like Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Bharatpur and Alwar. But, the germination and growth of the plant were very slow due to the lack of adequate water. Hence, the yield in early sowing area is likely to remain lower,” said Ratanlal Daga, chief of organic farming, All India Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, representing four million farmers.

Around 80 per cent of the sowing area in Rajasthan is rain-fed. Jodhpur, Barmer, Bikaner and Jaisalmer are still awaiting rainfall.

According to Sanjay Periwal, a Jodhpur-based guar trader, farmers are enthusiastic about bringing more area under cultivation in the ensuing kharif season amid expectations of a higher price this year, too. Prices of both guar seed and gum unjustifiably jumped to set new records last year at Rs 330 a kg and Rs 1,000 a kg, respectively. But, these commodities declined dramatically on suspension of their trade in the future, market.

Meanwhile, the price of guar gum has slumped on absence of foreign buyers. According to trade sources, buyers are using their existing stocks, as they anticipate a further decline in prices on normal monsoon rainfall forecast this year.

Following seed, guar gum has gone up slightly in the last two days to trade at Rs 400 a kg, a rise of nearly 10 per cent in the last two days.

The ministry of consumer affairs estimated total guar seed production at 1.25 mt during the 2011 kharif season compared with 1.5 mt in the previous year. If the monsoon goes well, the output will go up to 2.5-3 mt, said Periwal. Rajasthan is the largest producer of guar, constituting around 70 per cent of India’s overall output.

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