India’s soybean output is at 83.5 lakh tonne for the harvesting season 2017-18, about 24% lower than 109 lakh tonne reported in the previous year, the latest survey by the apex industry body Soybean Processors’ Association (SOPA), estimates . The estimated exports for the oil year 2017-2018 are likely to be down to 12.5 lakh tonne as against 20 lakh tonne last year.
Soybean is a kharif crop and contributes to nearly one-third of India’s overall oilseeds output. SOPA earlier had estimated India’s soybean output at 91.5 lakh tonne and150 lakh tonne in its first survey in October. In contrast, the Union ministry of agriculture has pegged India’s total soybean output at 122.2 lakh tonne in its first advanced estimate for the season 2017-18, down from 137.9 lakh tonne in its fourth advanced estimate for 2016-17.
According to DN Pathak, executive director, SOPA, the country’s soybean output was reported at 109 lakh tonne. After an extensive survey in the major soybean growing districts in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan that contribute around 90 % of the oilseed and interaction with farmers, traders, and processing plants, and after considering the arrivals, crushing, direct use and exports, the association has revised the kharif 2017 soybean crop to 83.5 lakh tonne from 91.5 lakh tonne forecast in October 2017. During the last season, both private and government agencies involved in the business of soybean, soya oil and oilmeals had forecast India’s soybean output to remain lower this year due to flood-induced crop damage in major growing states, followed by blight disease in the plants. Industry estimates India’s total acreage down by 5 % this year.
SOPA estimated the total arrival of soybean into mandis at 53 lakh tonne, of which, crushing mills have processed 38 lakh tonne. Stock with farmers, traders and plants stands at 45.3 lakh tonne. The country’s edible oil import bill is currently about Rs 650 billion for over 150 lakh tonne of cooking oil. India’s edible oil import bill has risen sharply with proportionate increase in demand. SOPA also estimates India’s soybean meal exports at 12.5 lakh tonne for 2017-18 compared to 20 lakh tonne reported in the previous year.
According to SOPA estimates, soyabean carryover stock is 13 lakh tonne, which is added to the crop size of 83.5 lakh tonne, thereby making the overall availability of the oilseed at 96.5 lakh tonne. Of this, 12 lakh tonne is to be set aside for sowing, while 84.5 lakh tonne is seen as the marketable surplus for crushing, direct use and exports. Between October 2017 and January 2018, the arrivals stood at 53 lakh tonne, with crushing of 38 lakh tonne, direct use of 1.18 lakh tonne and meal exports of 7.05 lakh tonne. Soyabean stock with farmers, traders and plants is estimated at 45.32 lakh tonne as of January.
In a recent announcement on oilmeal exports, the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) reported a 68% jump in shipments at 23.62 lakh tonne for the April 2017-January 2018 period compared to 14.09 lakh tonne during the same period last year. On November 17, 2017, the Centre had raised the import duty on edible oils to 15 % across the board and increased Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) on soymeal to 7 % from 5 %. “These measures have made Indian oilmeal more competitive in the world market and may result in to larger export of oilmeals during the current year,” SEA said.