Oilseeds acreage up 29% to 1.21 lakh hectares: Farm Ministry data
NEW DELHI, JUNE 16:
The South-West monsoon’s timely onset in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra including the Marathwada region, has buoyed hopes of a good soyabean crop – the main kharif season oilseed.
Acreage edges up
Agriculture Ministry data show oilseeds acreage is already up nearly 29 per cent to 1.21 lakh hectares (lh) ) as on June 12 from 0.94 lh during the corresponding period in 2014-15.
Madhya Pradesh accounts for a bulk of soyabean output and steady showers across the southern part of the State appear to be improving the market sentiment with the prices stabilising.
“The monsoon has entered MP and there’s good rainfall in the Indore and Hoshangabad divisions, in parts of Ujjain and most of Jabalpur. It should approach Bhopal over the next two-three days,” said Anupam Kashyapi, Director and Scientist-in-charge, India Meteorological Department (IMD, Bhopal).
Short duration varieties
Last year, soyabean acreage in MP was affected by the late arrival of the monsoon by nearly 20 days after the usual onset date around June 12-13.
“The delayed monsoon last season saw lower acreage but it should be around 11 million hectares (mh) this year, which includes 5.8 mh in MP and the rest across Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Karnataka,” said VS Bhatia, Head, ICAR-Directorate of Soybean Research in Indore.
Farmers in the central region are planting short duration varieties, such as JS-9560, which mature in 85-88 days.
“Sowing has just started, but it’s gathering pace in MP and the crop does not need much water. If there’s 500-600 mm of rainfall through the season and it’s well distributed, there should be no issue,” added Bhatia.
Prices firm up
From its ₹4,300-4,400/quintal peak a few months ago, prices have firmed to around ₹3,600 as of Tuesday. Industry officials attributed it to sentiments raised by the monsoon and the expectation of sufficient arrivals by September end.
“Sentiment has changed with rain in the region and prices have softened. It is around ₹3,605 for June and ₹3,280 for October,” said BV Mehta, Executive Director, Solvent Extractors’ Association of India.
Industry officials expect sowing to pick up by next week and appear confident of matching last year’s acreage of around 10 mh. The new crop hitting the markets by early-October should further help soften prices to around ₹30,000/tonne from the previous highs that many felt were due to speculative trading.
However, in terms of exports, few harbour optimism with Indian soyabean and soyameal outpriced in the international market. While soyameal is trading at a freight-on-board price of $350/tonne, soyabean is at $375/tonne.
“Indian soyameal is quoting $500/tonne and soyabean at $550/tonne. It’s unlikely there will be much improvement on last year’s export volumes of roughly one million tonne,” said Davish Jain, Chairman, Soyabean Processors Association of India.