Agri Business

Area of soyabean to rise by a tenth, says industry

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on June 23, 2020

Good rains, better price may prompt farmers to plant more

Planting of soyabean, a key kharif oilseed crop, has picked up with monsoon making timely progress in parts of Central India, the main growing region. Data released by the Agriculture Ministry shows soyabean was planted on about 3.52 lakh hectares, till June 19, as against 0.53 lakh ha in the same period last year.

The Soyabean Processors Association of India (SOPA), the apex trade body, sees good prospects for the oilseed on anticipated good rains this year. “As of today, we are expecting the area under soyabean to increase by about 10 per cent,” said DN Pathak, Executive Director, SOPA. Farmers in parts of Maharashtra are expected to switch from cotton to soyabean this year.

“Similarly, we expect some areas under maize in Madhya Pradesh to come under soyabean this year,” Pathak said. Soyabean was planted on about 114 lakh ha in 2019-20 season.

Price trend

The firm price trend in the oilseed compared to other competing crops such as maize and cotton could aid the switchover trend. The Centre has announced an MSP of ₹3,880 a quintal for 2020-21, which is 4.6 per cent higher than last year. Market prices of soyabean have largely stayed firm and are currently ruling higher than last year’s MSP. Spot prices are around ₹3,838 per quintal, while futures are hovering around ₹3,846.

Rain progress

Madhya Pradesh, the largest soyabean producing State, has received good rains so far in the monsoon season. Western MP has received 30 per cent surplus, while the rainfall has been 131 per cent more than normal in Eastern MP during June 1-22 period. Other soyabean growing regions such as Vidarbha has received 20 per cent surplus, while rains have been 11 per cent more in East Rajasthan aiding the planting. Though there have been reports of poor seed germination in some parts of Karnataka and shortage of seeds, it is unlikely to have any impact on the total acreage, Pathak said.

SOPA had estimated the 2019-20 crop at 93 lakh tonnes (lt). Including the imports of 3 lt and carry forward stocks of 1.70 lt, total availability of the oilseed was pegged at 97.76 lt. The market arrivals for the October-May period of the 2019-20 oil year stood lower at 62.45 lt (84.75 lt). The industry has crushed 49.20 lt(69.50 lt) so far, and the stocks with the farmers, traders and the industry are estimated at 34.56 lt.

Shipments down

Exports of soyameal have taken a major beating due to higher domestic prices and weak off-take from large buyers such as Bangladesh, France, Iran, Japan, Nepal and the United States. Soyameal exports during October-May 2019-20 were significantly lower at 4.85 lt as compared to 18.85 lt in the same period last year.

“Price has been a major factor that has dented the exports this year,” Pathak said. Iran, the largest buyer last year at over 4.48 lt during October-May 2018-19, has purchased a mere 30,020 tonnes in the same period this year. “Purchases from Iran have been lower this year mainly due to the sanctions and payment issues,” Pathak said.

Published on June 23, 2020

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