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Floods in Mexico’s Chickpeas Producing belt puts Crop at Risk; 2020 Production likely to fall by 70%

5 Dec 2019 1:34 pm
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Mumbai (Commodities Control) - Torrential rains have hit Mexico’s key Chickpeas growing region just as farmers were sowing their fall-winter crops. Reports show that more than a 100 mm of rain fell in Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja California, in less than 48 hours causing widespread flooding.

Chickpeas are grown almost exclusively during this time of year. Reports show that late last week when the rains came, chickpea seeding was not that far along. Because of low chickpea prices, growers were debating whether to plant corn instead. Consequently, as of last week, Mexico had only seeded about 9,500 hectares of chickpeas.

In Sinaloa, the planting window for chickpeas closes December 5th, well before the close of the corn planting window (which is in late December). With the fields now waterlogged, all seems lost for chickpeas cultivation for this season.

Experts do not see any opportunity for reseeding of chickpeas, as the fields are still underwater. Even if the water receded in a while, they believe, the cultivation window has already passed. Thus, the season is very likely to mark a historic low for chickpeas acreage.

Trade foresees Sinaloa seeding 10,000 irrigated hectares and 4,000 rain fed hectares to chickpeas. In Sonora, the planting window for chickpeas runs through December 30th. Thus, there will be an additional 8-9,000 hectares seeded to chickpeas there and another 1,500 hectares in Baja California.

So it is estimated that chickpeas will be seeded in about 20-25,000 hectares,nationwide. That's down from 75,476 hectares the previous fall-winter cycle.

Having said so, Sinaloa’s chickpeas’ production forecast for 2020 is a little over 23,000 MT, down 77% and 87% from production in 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Experts project Mexico’s 2019/20 chickpea production at no more than 40-45,000 MT, only if average yields are obtained, that seems highly unlikely. Mexico’s 2019/20 chickpea crop will be supplemented by sizable old-crop inventories. The carryover from the previous year is estimated at 40,000 MT.

Going by the calculation, the total available supply for 2020 will be less than 85,000 MT. Even with reduced domestic consumption and exports, the total usage will lead to zero carryover for the next year.

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