The country’s soybean output at 83.5 lakh tonne for the harvesting season 2017-18 is about 24% lower than 109 lakh tonne reported in the previous year.
The country’s soybean meal and soy product exports volume has been revised upwards to 15 lakh tonne for the oil year 2017-18 (October-September) and consequently the projected carry forward of soybean is likely to be only one lakh tonne, indicating a very tight supply position, industry body Soybean Processors Association of India (Sopa) has said. Earlier, the industry body had estimated exports at 12.5 lakh tonne for the season. Last season, exports had touched 20 lakh tonne which fell by nearly 5 lakh tonne on a tight supply position this year, said D N Pathak, executive director, Sopa. Indian soymeal once accounted for nearly a quarter of all Southeast Asian imports, but the country’s share has been falling due to rising domestic soybean consumption amid stagnant production. Soybean is a kharif crop and contributes to nearly one-third of India’s overall oilseeds’ output.
As per the latest estimates released by the industry body, the carryover stock of soybean is currently at 13 lakh tonne and with a production of 83.50 lakh tonne, the total stock is nearly 96.50 lakh tonne. With around 12 lakh tonne retained for sowing, 84.50 lakh tonne is available for crushing, direct use and export. According to Sopa, India is likely to export 90,000 tonne soymeal in April, down around 20% from 1,11,800 tonne a year ago, mainly due to less demand from major importers. The arrivals in the physical market have been higher during first 15 days in April at 1.27 lakh tonne compared to 1.24 lakh tonne last year for same period. As per data released by SEA, soymeal exports for April-March, rose 26.2% year-on-year at 11.56 lakh tonne due to firm demand from EU, particularly France and Germany.
The country’s soybean output at 83.5 lakh tonne for the harvesting season 2017-18 is about 24% lower than 109 lakh tonne reported in the previous year. 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. India’s total acreage is down by 5% this year. Soybean was cultivated on 106 lakh hectare in 2017, down 8% from a year ago, data from the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare showed. In the coming season, however, acreage is likely to go up by barely 15% with predictions of farmers switching from cotton to soybean. This season, soybean farmers in Maharashtra have faced the challenge of falling prices in addition to rejection from the government procurement agencies.
In Latur, one of the key producing regions of soybean, there have been several instances of farmers being turned away from the government procurement centres since the soybean brought by them to the centres did not fit into the quality parameters set by the government. India’s soybean oil purchases declined by about 30% to 1,60,000 tonne in March, a survey showed. The country buys soybean oil mainly from the US, Brazil and Argentina. Sunflower oil imports rose about 4.5% to 1,90,000 tonne. Significantly, on the international front as per market reports, the US soybean crush for 2018-19 is projected at 1,995 million bushels, up slightly from the revised 2017-18 forecast with higher soybean meal disappearance offset by lower projected soybean meal exports.
Soybean meal exports are forecast lower as Argentina’s export share recovers from the effects of drought in 2017-18. US soybean exports are forecast at 2,290 million bushels for 2018-19, up 225 million bushels from 2017-18. With global soybean import growth forecast of 5%, the US soybean export share is projected at 39%, up from 2017-18 but otherwise the lowest since 2012-13. To support local oilseed farmers and curb rising imports of edible oils, India has raised import duty on palm oil, soyoil and other cooking oils to the highest level in over a decade. After the hike, local soybean prices jumped to Rs 3,895 per 100 kg earlier this month, the highest level in nearly two years. The government-fixed support price for soybean was Rs 3,050 per quintal.