India's soybean output to jump over 10% on timely rain
Reuters Jun 22, 2015, 09.01AM IST
PUNE: Indian soybean production is likely to jump just over 10 per cent in 2015 from a year ago to more than 10 million tonnes, boosted by ample monsoon rains, said an industry body.
This should help the world's top importer of edible oils curb overseas purchases in the marketing year that starts in November, dragging on international prices. It could also bolster India's exports of animal feed ingredient soymeal, which is made from soybeans.
"The soybean area will remain steady this year, but productivity will go up due to good and timely rainfall," Pravin Lunkad, president of Mumbai-based industry body the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA), told Reuters. "We are expecting 10 million tonnes plus this year compared to last year's 9 million tonnes."
The country's two top growing states, Madhya Pradesh in the centre and Maharashtra in the west, have received significantly higher rainfall than normal since the beginning of the four-month monsoon season on June 1, Lunkad said on the sidelines of an industry conference.
That has helped farmers accelerate sowing in the states, which account for over 85 per cent of total soybean output. Lunkad said that a rise in soybean production in 2015 could bring down local soymeal prices, making exports of the cattle feed feasible to South Asian countries and Iran.
Indian soymeal exports have plunged so far this year as prices remained way above global markets after a drought last year hit the earlier soybean crop.
HIGH FOR NOW
The impact from that drought means that India's edible oil imports in the 2014/15 marketing year ending October could jump 12 percent to 13 million tonnes, Lunkad said, adding that cheaper palm oil prices had also stoked appetite.
"Like May, we will see higher imports even in June. Local oilseeds supplies are limited for crushing and we are expecting delayed shipments to land this month."
India's edible oil imports hit a record 1.35 million tonnes in May. It mainly buys palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, with soyoil from Argentina and Brazil.
Lunkad also said that the groundnut area in the top producing state of Gujarat could jump 20 percent as poor returns from cotton prompt farmers to shift crops. Meanwhile, Lunkad said China was likely to resume imports of Indian rapeseed meal in around a month after halting them in late 2011 on worries over contamination.
He said that both countries had signed a "sanitary protocol" during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to China last month and agreed to ensure Indian meal meets Chinese standards.
"Anytime within a month exports will resume. China has identified five crushing plants. Those plants will be allowed to export," he said.