Rapeseed to lead Europe’s vegetable oil quest

29-09-2009 | |
Rapeseed to lead Europe’s vegetable oil quest

The EU’s zero-tolerance policy on imports of not registered GM soybeans works in favour of rapeseed and other vegetable oil crops. However, demand is difficult to match a Rabobank report said.

It is expected that Europe’s rapeseed consumption will jump by one-half by 2015. Use of all major oilseeds will rise, with growth totalling 29% to 30.8m tonnes, to feed increasing consumption of vegetable oils and processed foods, and European Union production of biodiesel expected to grow by 8% a year.
Rapeseed is forecasted to lead the way, with consumption soaring to 12.5m tonnes from 8.3m tonnes in 2008, with sunflower use rising to 4.2m tonnes from 3.4m tonnes, the Rabobank report said.
GM obstacle
Soybean meal imports will grow relatively slowly, partly due to the zero-tolerance policy on using genetically modified crops.
Furthermore China is sourcing more and more soybeans from Brazil. This growing trade tie is set to overtake America as the world’s top exporter.
As a result this will further "limit the sourcing options, as Brazil is the only country to still produce large volumes of non-GM crops", Rabobank said.
The report comes as Chinese sovereign wealth CIC is finalising details for an agriculture-based investment in Singapore-based Noble Group, a major player in South American soybeans.
Competitors knock on EU door
However, the EU’s growing reliance on rapeseed will present only limited opportunities for the region’s own growers.
Regulations capping crop use for biofuels, currently responsible for about two-thirds of Europe’s use of the crop, will limit farmers’ rapeseed plantings.
This will give opportunities to other rapeseed growing countries. "Canadian and Ukrainian exporters will capture the market growth of rapeseed and sunflower oil," Rabobank said.
Top European harvest
Europe’s rapeseed harvest may set a record. Brussels based grain lobby group Coceral has increased its output estimate by 12%.
Production this year will come in at nearly 20.6m tonnes, a rise of 1.6m tonnes on last year’s record harvest, Coceral said.
The figure beats the 20.3m-tonne forecast by Oil World and the 20.0 tonne estimates of the US Department of Agriculture.
The improvement reflected in particular better crops in France, Germany and Poland, the European Union’s three biggest growers.
In the UK the forecast of the current rapeseed crop was set at 1.77m tonnes, which is 200,000 tonnes below previous estimate of UK’s Farmers Union.

Dick Ziggers Former editor All About Feed