Unseasonal rains in western and southern parts of India have impeded harvesting of cotton in two biggest producing states and sustained heavy showers could damage the crop, industry and government officials said on Wednesday.
Northern Maharashtra and southern Gujarat are likely to receive heavy to very heavy rains due to a cyclonic storm, weather department said early on Wednesday.
Gujarat is India's biggest producer of cotton followed by Maharashtra.
"Farmers are not harvesting due to rains. They will start once rains stop," said NP Hirani, chairman of the Maharashtra State Cotton Growers Marketing Federation Ltd.
Cotton crop may, however, benefit from the rains as the sowing in June was delayed by almost a month because of the patchy rains, but consistent heavy rains for more than two days may cause damage, an official at Maharashtra government's agriculture department said.
Sugarcane crushing is likely to stay subdued for a week due to rains, industry officials said on Tuesday.
PULSES TO GAIN
Rains may improve yield of tur or pigeon peas and hasten sowing of chana, traders said.
"Rainfall is conducive for tur crop. It will certainly improve yields," said Damodhar Gilda, a trader based in Gulbarga, in southern Karnataka state.
Rains have been improving soil moisture level and that will help sowing of the winter pulse, Gilda added.
Spot chana prices have corrected by more than 130 rupees per 100 kg in past two days due to rains, while chana futures opened lower on Wednesday.