1. Commodity News

India to Grow Soybeans on More Land This Crop Year

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

India will grow soybeans on more land this crop year (2019) since higher prices for the oilseed push many farmers to switch from growing competing commodities like cotton & pulses, industry official and dealers informed Reuters.

Improved production of country’s main summer-sown oilseed might help the world's leading vegetable oil importer cut expensive purchases from Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina and Indonesia. It can also help increase Indian exports of animal feed ingredient soymeal to countries such as Japan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Iran.

Chairman of the Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA), Davish Jain said, “At current prices, soybeans are more profitable than other crops. We will see a shift towards soybeans from cotton & pulses”.

Local soybean prices have increased nearly 14% to Rs 3,716 per 100 kg since the beginning of the 2018 crop year on 1st October, improved after India hiked the duty on importing palm oil, soy oil and other cooking oils. Soybeans have been grown on 10.8 million hectares in the 2018 crop year, up 6.7% from the year before, as per the data compiled by SOPA.

Jain said, “Soybean is a strong crop. Even if it encounters poor weather conditions, then also farmers will not end up with total losses like in other crops”.

The majority Indian farmers typically start cultivating soybeans, cotton and pulses that are rain-fed crops, in the month of June after the onset of the monsoon.

According to private weather forecaster Skymet, the western state of Maharashtra & central India's Madhya Pradesh make up more than 80 % of the country's total soybean production. Both the states may receive lower-than-normal rainfall in 2019.

The maximum rise in soybean area can be in Maharashtra, where growers were not happy with returns from cotton, said Managing Director of trading firm G.G. Patel & Nikhil Research Company, Govind bhai Patel.

Patel said, “Soybean does not require too much rainfall. It needs timely rain for good yields”. A Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm told soybean prices have also been buoyed by planting Iranian appetite for imports of Indian soymeal.

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