New Delhi/Bhopal/Indore: The soyabean acreage is likely to be higher in 2021-22, with estimates ranging from 12.7 mln ha to 14.5 mln ha.
According to data from the agriculture ministry, soyabean area was 12.1 mln ha in 2020-21 (Jul-Jun). "Lured by higher prices, farmers may add more area under soybean this year," industry veteran and GG Patel & Nikhil Research Co Managing Partner Govindbhai Patel said.
Soyabean prices have risen tracking gains in global markets and due to expectation of paucity of stocks in domestic markets. Reports suggest that global oilseed and edible oil stocks were lower in the current marketing year.
Soyabean prices jumped to a record high of Rs 8,100 on the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange on April 18. Even after falling to the current rate of Rs 7,140 rupees per 100 kg, it is nearly 80% higher in year.
Prices are unlikely to fall significantly during the sowing period (Jun-Aug), traders said, since arranging seed for sowing will also be a challenge.
Farmers typically store seeds with themselves for sowing, but the quality is not as good as certified seeds. The certified varieties are produced from foundation seeds derived from breeder seeds by agricultural scientists and are considered to be the best in quality and yield.
The government has certified 281,101 tonne soyabean seeds for sowing in the 2021-22 kharif season, lower than the requirement of 289,866 tonne, a farm ministry official said earlier. The government is yet to declare the minimum support price for 2021-22 kharif season but it is likely to be higher since it is trying to reduce edible oil imports by ramping up domestic oilseed production, the farm ministry official said.
Higher minimum support price typically encourages farmers to increase sowing. "Farmers earned nearly double the minimum support price this year," head of agri-commodity firm IGrain India, Rahul Chauhan, said.
"Some farmers even sold soyabean meant for sowing seed next year. There is no doubt that area will increase." The minimum support price for soybean was 3,880 rupees per 100 kg in the last season.
More farmers may switch to soybean from coarse crops and pulses in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Rajasthan, Intellitrade and Monetary Services Analyst Suresh Mantri said.
Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan are major growers of the oilseed. Good monsoon rains will also encourage farmers to boost soyabean area, Sunvin Group Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Bajoria said.
The India Meteorological Department recently raised its projection for southwest monsoon rainfall to 101% of the long-period average from 98% earlier. Soyabean is a crucial kharif oilseed and accounts for more than a third of the total oilseed production in the country.
A higher area may result in a bigger soyabean crop in 2021-22, traders said. Soybean output was pegged 19.4% higher on year at 13.4 mln tonne in 2020-21, according to the farm ministry's third advance estimates.
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