MUMBAI, July 2 (Reuters) - Turmeric futures in India rose 2 percent on Monday on a likely drop in the sowing area due to unattractive prices and a slow progress of rains that could push back sowing operations.
* Turmeric acreage in India, the world’s biggest producer and exporter of the yellow spice, is likely to fall 30 percent this season, reducing exports in 2013/14 even though total overseas sales are still expected to be above average.
* At 0735 GMT, the August contract on the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange was up 1.85 percent at 4,186 rupees per 100 kg.
* “Progress of rains is very slow in our area. Farmers are waiting for rains to start sowing,” said Suresh Chowdhary, a trader from Nizamabad, a key market in Andhra Pradesh.
* A slow start to the June-September monsoon rains could delay turmeric sowing, pushing up prices. Turmeric is planted between June and August and takes about nine months to harvest.
* India’s crucial monsoon rains were below average last week and failed to cover as much of the country as they should have, the weather office said on its website, fanning concerns about output of crops despite reassurances from weather officials.
Pepper futures were up on lack of rains and hopes of a pickup in demand ahead of festive season while slack supplies and dwindling stocks supported buying.
* Analysts said the sentiment has been positive across most of the agricultural commodities due to subdued monsoon rains.
* The most-active July contract on the NCDEX was up 0.38 percent at 40,860 rupees per 100 kg.
* “Both local and export demand is expected to pick up in the coming months due to the upcoming festivals. Every dip in prices should be taken as an opportunity to buy,” Ankita Parekh, an analyst at Nirmal Bang, said.
* Industry officials estimate local pepper output in 2012 at about 43,000-45,000 tonnes, as against 49,000 tonnes last year.
* In Kochi, an important market in Kerala, spot pepper fell 30 rupees to 40,150 rupees on weak export enquiries.
* Overseas sales have been poor because Indian-origin pepper is being offered at a premium compared to other suppliers.
Indian jeera, or cumin seed, futures edged up on thin domestic supplies and on subdued rains in Gujarat state, the leading producer.
* Jeera is a winter crop, whose planting starts from October, and farmers depend on the monsoon to moisten the land for sowing.
* The July jeera contract on the NCDEX edged up 0.15 percent to 13,600 rupees per 100 kg.
* “Lack of rains in Gujarat is supporting sentiment. Prices should move up because of a likely pickup in demand in the coming days,” said Parekh.
* At Unjha, a key market in Gujarat, spot jeera rose 63 rupees to 14,044 rupees. (Reporting by Meenakshi Sharma; Editing by Jijo Jacob)