Early arrival of monsoon and well- distributed rainfall in the main growing regions of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have spurred sowing of the oilseed.
By Prabhudatta Mishra
The soybean acreage in the country may touch a record this year, surpassing the previous high of 11.72 million hectare achieved in 2013-14, boosting the prospect of an all-time high output. Early arrival of monsoon and well- distributed rainfall in the main growing regions of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have spurred sowing of the oilseed.
The total area under soybean was 10.15 million hectare as on July 10, against 5.17 million hectare in the year-ago period. Farmers in Madhya Pradesh have covered over 90% of the normal area of 5.64 million hectare while this year’s acreage has already reached the normal area of 3.68 million hectare in Maharashtra. However, area under the oilseed in Rajasthan is about 2.35 lakh hectare lower than normal and is currently at par with year-ago level at 8.14 lakh hectare.
“Last year, soybean sowing in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh started only in July due to delayed monsoon and deficient rainfall. But the situation is completely different this year. Barring 3-4 districts, all other growing areas in these two states have so far received normal or more-than-normal rains. Both seeds and fertilisers were available and there was no shortage anywhere,” said Davish Jain, chairman of Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA).
“If everything goes normal from now on, there may be a record crop in 2020-21,” he said.
India had produced record 14.67 million tonne of soybean in 2012-13.
Apart from a good start in monsoon rainfall this year, market prices of soybean triggered a higher acreage, traders said. “Farmers could have shifted to other crops like cotton in Maharashtra and pulses in Madhya Pradesh. But soybean prices became attractive from January compared to initial rates,” said Atul Gupta, a trader in Yavatmal, Maharashtra.
The all India average mandi prices of soybean had improved 12.5% to Rs 3,810/quintal in February, from Rs 3,385/quintal during October. Harvesting of the crop starts from October. The government has raised the minimum support price by 4.6% to Rs 3,880/quintal for 2020-21.