Soyabean output likely to be below govt estimates: SEA

BL Mangaluru Bureau | Updated on: May 23, 2022

Industry pegs the output at 10 million tonnes against 13.83 projected by the Centre

The Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India feels that the soyabean crop is likely to be lower at 10 million tonnes (mt) against the government’s estimate of 13.83 mt.

Atul Chaturvedi, President, SEA, in his monthly letters to its members, said the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare’s third advance estimate for major crops had estimated the oilseeds output at 38.5 mt. It was at 35.95 mt during the last year.

Stating that these are good tidings, he hoped that oilseed production would continue growing in the coming years. According to the government estimate, the soyabean crop is at 13.83 mt, and the rape-mustard seed crop at 11.75 mt.

The trade estimate for soyabean, as announced by SOPA, is 11.9 mt, he said, adding: “But many industry players believe the soyabean crop is much lower at 10 mt as they do not see the pressure of market-arrivals even at the current high price of soyabean.”

Crop diversification

Stressing the need for crop diversification, he said the MSP-driven wheat and rice production in Punjab and Haryana has assured a ready market and reasonable returns to the farmers. But this has created huge anomalies and demand-supply mismatch. Mountains of wheat and rice are challenging the country’s storage infrastructure.

Urging the need to divert some land in Punjab from wheat/rice cycle to sunflower, maize in kharif season, and to rapeseed/mustard in rabi season, he said: “We have to ensure farmers are suitably incentivised by ensuring better returns and assured market. If we can convince farmers in these north Indian states; ‘Yellow Revolution’ can become a reality.”

In this regard, SEA would establish model farms in two districts of Punjab during rabi season to show that crop diversification to rape-mustard seed can be more remunerative than wheat.

Imported inflation

On inflation, he said, India’s high dependence on imported fuel and edible oil are the primary reason. No country can have fuel security when it depends on to the extent of 85 per cent of its need. Edible oil security is also seriously compromised, with 65 per cent dependence on imports.

Mentioning that there are no quick-fix solutions to combat imported inflation that has been fuelled by easy monetary policies and geo-political issues plaguing the world, he said high prices have resulted in demand destruction to some extent which should help in bringing some sanity back in the markets.

The message of the Prime Minister for working towards aatmanirbharta in fuel and edible oils is now being acted upon in all seriousness by the concerned ministries. The thrust on biofuels, more particularly ethanol, and implementation of National Mission on Oilseeds should go a long way in reducing India’s dependence on the world, he said.

Storage control order

On implementing the storage control orders, he said it gives undue powers to officers tasked with its enforcement and results in avoidable harassment. “This is contrary to Prime Minister’s stated vision of improving ‘ease of doing business’. It beats our imagination why edible oils are targeted when almost 65 per cent of it is imported, which is exempt. We trust and hope this draconian law is withdrawn at the earliest,” Chaturvedi said.

Castor seed

According to Chaturvedi, India produces about 1.8-2 mt of castor seed and exports nearly 700,000 tonnes of castor oil and about 150,000 tonnes of castor seed derivatives, meeting 90 per cent of the requirements of the world.

He said SEA Castor Seed and Oil Promotion Council has decided to develop the Indian Castor Seed Sustainability Standard (INCASS) for products based on Indian conditions and issue the Sustainability Certificate either by SEA or its affiliated body to the castor fraternity.

He said SEA Castor Seed and Oil Promotion Council has set up a special committee to work out modalities and implement the Castor Sustainability Standard within 3-6 months.

Rice bran

He said the Union Commerce Ministry’s notification dated May 5, placing de-oiled rice bran exports under APEDA shocked SEA members processing rice bran. Over the last 50 years, SEA has taken a lot of pain and effort to promote exports of de-oiled rice bran ,helping increase the overall processing and production of rice bran oil.

“We fail to understand the need for shifting de-oiled rice bran from the purview of SEA to APEDA. The change will dilute the focus and may affect the overall processing of rice bran, production of rice bran oil, and exports of de-oiled rice bran,” he said.

Published on May 23, 2022
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