ICOA – COVID-19 UPDATE BULLETIN – August 24, 2020

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ICOA – COVID-19 UPDATE BULLETIN Dated August 24, 2020

(by Abhay V. Udeshi, Chairman, Jayant Agro-Organics Ltd.

                                                Quick Facts:

COVID CASES CONFIRMED DECEASED
World 23,415,677 809,333
U.S.A. 5,83,806 180,225
Europe 3,787,652 214,128
India 3,050,326 56,883
China 84,951 4,634

NEWS FROM INDIA

What started as “China Corona Factor” until February 2020 soon became a global phenomenon and changed the world in the last six months. “LIFE” to “Livelihood”, “Scaling-up Impact to Strengthening the Health Care Systems” and “Getting back on Track” with “Innovations” linked with “Digitization in Every Field” have kept the world going at different operational levels. Unlocking has begun with a great hope of the “Vaccine” available in the foreseeable future.

From Governments and their administration(s), Health Care facilities, Educational Institutes, Financial Institutions together with Companies – each and every one now continues to operate at varied paces to preserve jobs and keep the wheels churning. “Uncertainty” continues to loom until a vaccine becomes a reality.

India is in its Unlock 3 mode with inter- and intra-state movement of persons and goods. Most of the country has been operationally active except where situations need to be more controlled due to high risks based on population sensitivity. Mumbai continues to be in that bracket with suburban trains still not operational for the general public and offices restricted with staff strength of 10% or 10 persons whichever is maximum.

Monsoon Update : 

The week of August 13 to 19 recorded 42% excess rain compared to the long period average (LPA) for the week, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD) data.  This is the highest rainfall received in a week during this monsoon.  The average rainfall recorded during the August 13 to 16 week is 60.2mm, but the country recorded 85.7mm last week, with 93% excess rain over central India; 56% excess rain over south peninsula; 12% excess rain over northwest India and 23% deficiency over east and northeast India. (LPA is the average monsoon rain recorded between 1951 and 2000).  Normally by the last week of August, rainfall reduces very gradually.  But this time, the monsoon in July was very weak.  It picked up in August, and as of today no monsoon model is showing any likelihood of a reduction in rainfall. A fresh low-pressure area is forming over the Bay of Bengal around August 23, which will bring another round of excess rainfall.  Due to these favorable conditions, widespread and very heavy rain is likely over Gujarat.  The forecast also goes on to show that there will be a record excess rain of about 106% of LPA in August and September which makes it very difficult for the IMD to predict when monsoon will retreat for the moment.

Castor Oil Market Update :

Castor Seeds – Market yards have been normal in operations with a few instances during the last month and half when some market yards were shut mainly due to apprehensions by the management of non-adhering to social distancing norms during its operations but fortunately things have settled.  Arrivals of castor seeds bags in the market yards during the monsoon season has been on the lower side as the sowing activities continue during this period as also the prices are not yet attractive for the farmers.  Interestingly, on the sowing acreage for castor, the numbers look better compared to last year at the same time.  As of August 13, 202 this year India’s sowing acreage is at 418,000 Ha v/s 383,000 Ha last year.  Gujarat, the major castor producing area – the acreage this year has been 280,000 Ha v/s 237,000 Ha.  Could it be because of recent monsoon developments where castor remains on priority as an Insurance crop for the farmers?  We have almost a month to go for the final sowing numbers for castor seeds as the sowing period generally is till mid-September.

India’s Castor oil Industry continues to remain more or less normal in its operations with some exceptions on the shipping logistics and delays due to trade disruptions across the globe. Exports continue at the normal pace with July making up for the loss of exports during the first six months (partly affected because of the COVID peak months).  July 2020 exports stood at about 66,000 mtons v/s about 44,000 mtons during July 2019.  Exports during Jan-July 2020 stood at about 325,000 mtons v/s Jan-July 2019 of about 319,000 mtons – a positive sign for the Industry and particularly for the farmers – that demand continues in these challenging times.  With low arrivals and good exports, prices have firmed up. However, we expect prices to remain range bound for the balance of the year as challenges continue on the demand side and farmers price expectations on the supply side.  Balancing demand on renewable and non-food agri-based products v/s competing crude oil-based products on one hand and improving productivity with good farming practices on the other hand will bring solutions for a better and sustainable world.

Challenges are always there to stay and is a way to make us better.

Let us all hope for the best.

Stay Safe and Stay Healthy.

Abhay V. Udeshi

« Mr. Nilesh Patel, Managing Director of N.K. Proteins Pvt. Ltd.
ICOA – COVID-19 UPDATE BULLETIN – Dated September 14, 2020 »