Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Jul 12, 2005
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Oilseeds & Edible Oil
Oilseeds crop hopes hinge on more rains
Chennai , July 11
SOWING of kharif oilseed crop is facing problems with major soyabean growing areas receiving insufficient rains and some areas needing replanting after flood damaged the fields.
"Vidharbha, the main area for soyabean, has not received sufficient rain. However, groundnut sowing has begun in Saurashtra," said Mr B.V. Mehta, Executive Director, Solvent Extractors Association of India.
Though Nagpur in the Vidharbha region has received about 2 inches rain during the weekend, it is considered much short of the requirements.
"We require more rains in the region," Mr Mehta said.
"Western Madhya Pradesh has also received less than normal rainfall and more is required," said Mr Rajesh Agrawal, President, Soyabean Processors Association of India.
In western Madhya Pradesh, the Indore belt has particularly been affected by poor rainfall. Rewa is another area requiring more rains.
"The rainfall during the weekend has, however, helped the farmers to begin sowing. At least 60-70 per cent of the sowing has got over. Though it has been delayed, the entire sowing operations are expected to be completed by July 15," Mr Agrawal said.
Another area of concern is the Marathwada region in Maharashtra. "Rainfall has been scanty over the region," he said.
According to Mr Mehta, groundnut sowing is in full swing in Gujarat with bright sunshine since the beginning of last week. However, the crop could be affected in Jamnagar region. On the other hand, heavy rainfall in central Madhya Pradesh has forced replanting in some areas.
"Sowing has to be done in at least 3-5 per cent of the area as floods have caused damage," Mr Agrawal said.
The delay in sowing has resulted in fears over the quality of the crop. "The quality of the soyabean crop is unlikely to be good," an industry source said.
Until last week, the area under oilseeds was down 37 per cent compared with the same period last year, basically due to poor monsoon coverage.
While coverage of groundnut was down to 8.38 lakh hectares (lh) from 23.04 lh during June 1-July 6, that of soyabean dipped 16.49 lh to 2.45 lh.
The normal area under groundnut is 54 lh and for soyabean it is 63 lh. However, encouraged by the higher minimum support price being offered by the Centre, farmers had gone in for higher coverage last year.
According to the Union Agriculture Ministry's fourth advance estimate for 2004-05 crop ending July, oilseed crop production has increased to 262.01 lakh tonnes from 252.90 lakh tonnes the previous year.
However, production of groundnut and soyabean are estimated to have declined marginally to 53.32 lakh tonnes (68.93 lakh tonnes) and 75.10 lakh tonnes (78.63 lakh tonnes) respectively.
A record mustard/rapeseed production is reportedly the reason for higher oilseeds output last crop year.
Despite the projected rise in oilseed production, import of edible oil during the first eight months of the current oil year (November 2004-October 2005) has increased to 27.80 lakh tonnes against 20.68 lakh tonnes a year ago.
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