The rice area was estimated slightly higher at 17.7 million hectares, compared to 16.9 million hectares a year ago, but was still slightly lower than the 5-year average, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
Assuming normal rainfall during August/September and weather conditions through harvest, the official area and production forecast for 2017-18 is expected to be 108 million tonnes from 44.5 million hectares. A prolonged dry spell or floods could lower the official production forecast, FAS said.
Government rice procurement in the current season has crossed a new record of 38.7 milllion tonnes through July 14, compared to 34.1 million tonnes during the same period a year ago.
Total rice procurement is estimated to reach a record 38.8 million tonnes, 13% higher than last year and 11% higher than the previous record of 35 million tonnes in 2011-12.
Monsoon rains have also supported near normal 2017-18 corn plantings. They are slightly lower than last year as farmers have shifted to crops such as rice and pulses. Total corn planted area was estimated at 6 million hectares compared to 6.8 million hectares last year but close to the normal of 6.1 million hectares.
Excess rain during September/October may affect the yield prospects as the crop would be at the harvest stage, FAS said. Assuming normal monsoon through August and September, corn production is expected to reach 23 million tonnes.