Deficient monsoon rains may not augur well for the country’s oilseeds crop and may prompt it to step up imports of edible oil during 2012-13 to keep up with increasing demand, a senior industry official said.

India’s imports of edible oil during 2012-13 are expected to increase to 103.1 lakh tonnes (lt)compared with 97.8 lt in 2011-12, Govindbhai G. Patel, Managing Partner of GG Patel & Nikhil Research Co, an independent crop research company.

Onset of monsoon rains has been quite late this season impacting much of groundnut crop, he told delegates to an oilseeds conference.

In most of the groundnut growing area rain deficiency was quite high. In Saurashtra, the main groundnut growing region, the deficiency was as much as 80 per cent. In other growing areas rains towards the end of August reduced the deficit to 20 per cent, Patel said.

But in soyabean growing areas, rainfall situation improved after the initial lag. Soaybean output is likely to be higher by seven per cent during 2012-13 at 107 lt, he said.

He also reiterated that the country’s dependence on imports of edible oil will continue as production lags behind demand.

Efforts should be made to increase productivity of oilseeds and palm oil cultivation should be encouraged, he said.

(This article was published on September 21, 2012)
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