Process Management

News 246 views last update:7 Aug 2012

India to plant record area of soybeans

Highest ever prices and early rainfall have pushed Asia's biggest supplier of soybean meal, India, to plant a record soybean crop for a second year in a row.

The area planted to soybeans may gain as much as 20% in the year beginning July from 8.85 million hectares (21.87 million acres) last year, Dinesh Shahra, managing director of India's biggest soybean processor Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

India exports soybean meal to nations including China, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea. According to Shahra there is already a rush among farmers to secure enough soybean seeds ahead of sowing. Because of record prices farmers devote every inch of land available to the crop this year.

Favourable weather have stimulated farmers in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which accounts for more than half the country's total output, to start planting soybeans 15 to 20 days earlier than normal. Early rains will further boost sowing and increase production.

Soybean production may rise to 9.47 m tonnes in the year ending June from 7.15 m tonnes a year earlier, according to the Indian Soybean Processors Association. Also in the western Indian state of Maharashtra may decide to plant soybeans instead of cotton and sugar cane since local soybean prices have more than doubled.

Export boost
Increased production in India may boost the country's meal exports to Southeast Asian countries seeking cheaper alternatives to soybean meals or corn from Latin America, the US and China. Supply from Argentina is tight and US meal is more expensive for imports in Asia.

India's overseas sales of soybean meal may surpass 4.5 m tonnes for the year through September 2008, according to the Soybean Processors Association. Exports totalled 4.1 m tonnes between October and May, 31 percent more than a year earlier. Indian usually exports more than 70% of its output.

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