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Thursday, Nov 21, 2002

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Agri-Biz & Commodities - Oilseeds & Edible Oil

Sunflower to buck downtrend

Ch. Prashanth Reddy


WHILE the total oilseeds production in the current kharif season is expected to decline by 25 per cent, the production of sunflower is projected to increase by 20 per cent.

There is a substantial increase in the area under sunflower, particularly in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, contributing to an output of 2.8 lakh tonnes (lt) this season as against 1.5 lt in the corresponding season last year. In contrast, the total oilseeds output, according to the Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT), will decline to 9.72 million tonnes (mt) from 12.3 mt in kharif, 2001.

Even during this year's rabi season, it is only the sunflower crop which is expected to register a growth of 15 per cent while the output of most of other oilseeds crops is expected to decline steeply.

However, according to Mr Govind Ambady, Vice-President, Community Sourcing & Exports, Agro Tech Foods Ltd, despite an increase in output, the price of sunflower oil is likely to increase this year as the prices of all other edible oils are on an upward trend. But the high difference in the prices of soyabean and sunflower oil, on account of differential import duty, is likely to narrow in the current year. Already, the difference in the price between the two commodities has declined from a high of Rs 18,000 per tonne to Rs 6,000 per tonne. "This is good news for Agro Tech Foods."

Mr Ambady told Business Line that the world oil production this year was expected to be 1.2 per cent less than the global demand. Consequently, not only in India, the international prices of edible oils prices were on the higher side at present. In fact, he pointed out that starting from this year and during the next two years, the world agriculture would transform from a supply-led to demand-led activity.

As per COOIT's estimates the output of groundnut during kharif, 2002 will be 3.43 mt ( 5.3 mt in kharif 2001), soyabean 4.8 mt ( 5.4 mt), rapeseed 1.5 lt (1.5 lt), sesame 4.2 lt (5.7 lt), castor 5.1 lt (6 lt) and niger 1.3 lt (1.3 lt). Lower oilseeds production is expected to substantially increase the country's edible oil imports.

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