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Thursday, Dec 16, 2004

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Sharp rise in rabi oilseeds coverage

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Dec. 15

THE country's import of edible oils is likely to fall for a second successive oil year (November-October), with a sharp increase reported in the area sown under various rabi oilseeds this year.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, sowing of rabi oilseeds has so far been reported in 89.40 lakh hectares, which is higher than the 83.01 lakh hectares covered in the corresponding period of 2003-04 and also more than the normal acreage of 75.25 lakh hectares. The area under rapeseed-mustard has, in particular, shown a significant increase.

"Rapeseed and mustard coverage and condition of crop is satisfactory. Sowing of pure mustard crop in Uttar Pradesh is completed and sowing as mixed crop with wheat is still continuing. Sowing of these crops in Rajasthan and Haryana is over, whereas sowing of groundnut has just started in the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka," the Ministry said in a statement here today.

According to the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA), during the 2003-04 oil year, the country imported 43.97 lakh tonnes (lt) of edible oils, which was lower than the 51.14 lt, 44.25 lt and 48.34 lt imported in the preceding three years.

With the area under rabi oilseeds going up this year, there is every likelihood of a further drop in imports during 2004-05.

The progressive area under wheat has, however, been lower, with only 171.18 lakh hectares being covered so far this year, against last year's corresponding acreage of 189.75 lakh hectares.

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