May 14, 2013
Indian farmers are expected to increase soyabean planting in 2013/14, encouraged by a rally in prices and the need to cultivate a sturdy crop to prepare for the possibility of an unhelpful monsoon season, industry officials told Reuters. The increase would help the world’s top importer of edible oils to cap expensive overseas purchases and boost oilmeal exports to Asian countries.
“Farmers in Maharashtra and southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are likely to increase (their) soyabean area,” said Rajesh Agrawal, chief co-ordinator at the Soyabean Processors Association of India. The overall rise in the acreage would be about 7 percent over last year’s 10.7 million hectares, Agrawal said. That could bring a corresponding rise in production, though actual figures will depend on this year’s monsoon.
India’s edible oil imports in the year to October 31, 2013, are expected to rise 10 percent from a year earlier to 11 million tonnes. It is already Asia’s top soyameal exporter, its product preferred to Latin American supplies because it does not use genetically modified beans and because lower transportation costs make it more competitive on price.
There is no scope to increase acreage in Madhya Pradesh, the top soyabean-producing state, but farmers in other states are tilting towards soyabean from other crops. “Cotton seeds are expensive and the crop is also labour intensive. Comparatively, the cost of production is lower in soyabean and returns rising,” said Madhukar Ingle, a Maharashtra farmer who cultivates both crops. The western state of Maharashtra is India’s second-biggest producer of cotton and soyabean.
Cotton prices have risen about 11 percent since sales started in October, but soyabean futures on the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange have risen by more than 25 percent. “Last year drought affected both cotton and soyabean in Maharashtra, but farmers incurred more losses from cotton than soyabean,” said Nalini Rao, an analyst at India Infoline. Reuters