Vietnam lifts India’s groundnut exports

RUTAM VORA VISHWANATH KULKARNI Ahmedabad | Updated on January 15, 2018


Exports of groundnuts have jumped by over a third on robust demand from countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia and a bigger domestic crop.

However, exporters are apprehensive of sustaining the growth in groundnut shipments, especially after the Government opened up shipments of groundnut oil in bulk quantity as overseas buyers may find it cheaper to import oils.

As per the provisional estimates, shipments were up 34 per cent for the April-February period at 6.53 lakh tonnes over the year-ago period’s 4.88 lakh tonnes. In rupee value terms, the exports for the period were up 35 per cent at ₹4,910 crore as against ₹3,652 crore in the year-ago period.

In dollar terms, the shipments registered 31 per cent growth at $728.62 million for April-Feb as against $557 million in the same period last year.

Exporters attribute the rise in groundnut exports to multiple factors, including increased availability of the seeds, competitive prices in the international market and globally acceptable quality.

“Due to the timely monsoon last kharif season, we had good groundnut crop, which resulted in ample seed availability for exports. This brought down prices and made us competitive in the international market,” said Kamlesh Badani of Badani Exports from Junagadh, heartland for groundnut.

“On average, our prices are lower by about $100-150 per tonne as against other exporting countries. However the prices may vary depending on the different quality of the seed," Badani added.

Data from Apeda reveals that exports to Vietnam jumped more than three-fold to 83,361 tonnes in the April-June period as against 18,418 tonnes achieved in financial 2015-16. This is despite Vietnam raking up the phytosanitary issue on Indian exports recently.

More oil

“Indian groundnuts in the Far East are preferred over other origins such as China because of the high oil content,” said Nitin Bansal of Commodities India Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based broker.

Indian groundnuts have oil content of 49-51 per cent, whereas the Chinese variety has 46-47 per cent. Far Eastern countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand are among the large importers of Indian groundnut.

The surge in seed exports has helped lift prices in Gujarat, which accounts for half of India’s output.

On a bumper harvest, groundnut prices had dropped to a low of ₹2,750 a quintal in Gujarat during the October-November period last year, much below the MSP level of ₹4,220.

However prices have now stabilised around ₹4,500. India’s groundnut production during kharif 2016-17 was estimated at a record 8.47 mt.

Despite the rebound in groundnut shipments, exporters are apprehensive of sustaining the growth of seed exports, especially after the Centre opened up the exports of groundnut oil in bulk.

However, Sanjiv Sawla, Chairman, Indian Oilseeds and Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC) said there will be no immediate impact on seed exports.

“Eventually the overall market pie will increase because we will be able to drive certain African origins or Argentina out of the oil market with our increased competitiveness,” he added. Argentina caters to Russia, Algeria, Morocco and Mexico.

Sawla attributed the sharp surge in India’s exports to the demand and supply situation internationally as prices have largely remained range-bound from the export perspective.

Published on April 10, 2017

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