Oilseeds benefit from rain but do not compensate for the loss from drought.


Rohit Kashiv, a soybean farmer from Madhya Pradesh, was hopeful of a good harvest till early last month. But after this, due to lack of rain, the fear of the crop drying up began to haunt and the hopes of a good yield started fading. However, the rains since last few days this month have brought happiness on Rohit’s face and this rain has averted the danger of the crop drying up. Soybean is the largest crop among oilseed crops of Kharif season.

According to experts, this crop has benefited from the recent rains and the possibility of further loss has been averted for now. Groundnut, the second major oilseed crop of Kharif, is still facing the indifference of monsoon as there has not been enough rain in the groundnut producing areas of the main producing state Gujarat to benefit its crop. Castor and sesame crops are also being affected by the weak monsoon. Their sowing has also reduced.

Kashiv told Business Standard that after the recent rains, the progress of the grains of this crop will be good. If it had not rained this month, the crop would have dried up. If the weather continues to be favorable for this crop in the future, then his 40 acre farm can produce 200 quintals of soybean this year. Last year the yield was 150 quintals. Sunil Patidar, a farmer from Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, says that his soybean is 85 to 88 percent ripe. In such a situation, the recent rains have not benefited as much as those cultivating late variety soybean. If it had rained 15 days earlier, the benefit would have been greater.

DN Pathak, executive director of Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA), the leading organization of the soybean industry, said that due to lack of rain last month, the loss that was to be caused has already been done. But the recent rains will not cause further damage. He said that there was moisture deficiency in about 15 percent of the total area of ​​soybean due to drought like conditions in between. Some crop damage is possible in light and sandy soils.

The productivity of soybean in this area may be affected due to small grain size and poor pod formation. Due to high temperatures, there may be some reduction in yield due to insects, pests and diseases in some areas of Madhya Pradesh. Pathak says that the condition of the crop is overall normal and at present no major damage is seen to the crop. However, there may be a delay of 10 to 15 days in the arrival of the new crop.

More damage to peanuts

This year, groundnut has been sown in 43.81 lakh hectares, which is 3.39 percent less than last year. Groundnut is cultivated the most in Gujarat. Due to indifference of monsoon, the area under groundnut in Gujarat has decreased by about 4 percent this year to 16.35 lakh hectares.

There is still shortage of rain in the groundnut producing areas of Gujarat. Sameer Shah, President of Gujarat State Edible Oil and Edible Oil Seeds Association (GSEOOSA), says that the last one and a half month has been like a drought in Gujarat due to which groundnut and other oilseed crops have suffered damage.

Now even if it rains, it will not be of much benefit because it is difficult for new grains to form. However, now rain may help in increasing the grain size. But the crop has already suffered a lot of damage. It is too early to estimate how much production will be affected.

Commodity expert Indrajit Paul said that the indifference of monsoon is likely to hit the groundnut crop in Gujarat the most. Sowing here has also reduced and there has been no rain from above. Sowing has increased in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and is also benefiting from the rains. However, it does not seem possible to completely compensate for the damage that has already been caused by this rain.

There has been a significant reduction in the sowing of other oilseed crops, sesame, castor and sunflower this year. The area of ​​castor has decreased by 8 percent and the area of ​​sesame has decreased by more than 7 percent. Castor is also sown mostly in Gujarat and it has also suffered losses due to lack of rain.

In the opinion of Suresh Nagpal, Chairman of Central Organization for Oil Industry and Trade (COIT), the productivity of groundnut may definitely be affected. But the fear of a major decline in soybean production has now been eliminated due to the recent rains. According to SEA, the lack of rain in Gujarat may reduce the productivity of groundnut, while soybean has benefited from the recent rains.

Monsoon’s indifference will not have much impact on edible oil prices

Even if the production of oilseed crops does not increase as expected, it will not make much difference to the prices of edible oils because their prices are largely dependent on the international market and imports.

Nagpal says that last month proved to be dry for oilseed crops. Still, the prices of edible oils did not increase, rather their prices only declined. Now due to festivals the demand for edible oils may increase further. But there is no expectation of increase in their prices because there has been a lot of import of edible oils in the country. A record amount of more than 18 lakh tonnes of edible oil was imported in August.

Shankar Thakkar, National President of All India Edible Oil Traders Federation, said that the oilseed crop has benefited from the recent rains. But the total oilseed production may decrease due to losses due to drought last month. Despite this shortage, there is no possibility of a big rise in the prices of edible oils because their prices in the country depend on the international market and their prices are still sluggish there.

Compared to last year, the prices of mustard, soybean and sunflower oil are 25 to 40 percent less. Thakkar says that if the prices of edible oils increase due to some reason in the international market, then their prices may increase in the country too.

First Published : September 19, 2023 | 11:41 PM IST

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