Soybean Production To Be Higher At 1.26 Crore Tonne This Kharif Season

Ahmedabad - India will produce 1.26 crore tonne of soybean compared to 1.16 crore tonne during the last Kharif season, an estimate by Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) says.

Madhya Pradesh will account for 66.86 lakh tonne of the total estimated production. Top soybean producing states will see a rise in production and Maharashtra, the second largest producer, can see 40 lakh tonne of production against the 35.60 lakh tonne last season. The season ended on September 30.

Higher production is estimated in Andhra Pradesh (2.1 lakh tonne), Karnataka (2.2 lakh tonne), Chattisgarh (1.75 lakh tonne) and Gujarat (92,000 tonne). Rajasthan, however, may see a fall in crop with SOPA estimating a marginal drop to 12.32 lakh tonne from 12.48 lakh tonne last year.

"Soybean gave higher returns to farmers in last season compared to cotton and hence sowing has been increased. However, due to delayed rain, cultivation could not go up significantly," said Rajesh Agrawal, spokesperson of SOPA.

Compared to 1.03 crore hectares of sowing during 2011 kharif, India saw a 1.07 lakh hectares (4% higher) sowing in this year. "Soybean is less risky than cotton and needs lower input costs," added Mr Agrawal.

India is fifth-largest producer of soybean in the world and has been adding area under soybean sowing since 2000. Production and productivity levels went up in past few years, but the country is still far behind China's productivity levels of 2,500 kg per hectare.

The top producers are US, Brazil, China and Argentina. As per the SOPA prediction, India will see rise in productivity level to 1,185 kg per hectare versus 1,127 kg of 2011-12. MP will see 1,150 kg (1,076 kg last year) per hectare while Maharashtra will produce 1,243 kg (1,163 kg).

However, productivity level will go down to 1,249 kg per hectare from 1,393 kg of last kharif in Rajasthan. Excessive rain in the parts of Rajasthan and MP impacted the productivity level, said Mr Agrawal.

Soybean is a low oil content edible seed and has average oil recovery level of 15%. Thus, with a 10 lakh tonne of higher seed production, the country can have 1.5 lakh tonne of higher soybean oil for the kharif year. India is fulfilling half of its edible oil requirements by exporting 90 lakh tonne of edible oil, majorly palm oil.

Soybean November delivery futures closed in 4% lower circuit on NCDEX to Rs 3,075. Soybean witnessed sharp fall in prices since early September and touched a high of Rs 4,500 during late August.

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