Exports of soyameal are seen declining by over a fourth to around 15 lakh tonnes in the current oil year (ending September 2018) on reduced oilseed availability for crushing.
The shipments of soyameal have progressively slowed over the past four months to 10.25 lakh tonnes (lt) for the October-March 2018 period as against 11.89 lt in the corresponding period last year.
“We expect another 2.5-5 lakh tonnes to be shipped in the remaining part of the oil year depending on the residual stocks,” said Davish Jain, Chairman, Soyabean Processors Association of India (SOPA), the apex body of oilseed crushers. Total shipments may touch around 15 lt, Jain said adding that the decline in shipments over last year’s 20 lt was mainly due to the reduced availability for crushing.
“There’s is no paucity of demand for Indian soyameal. As it is not genetically modified, our soyameal commands a premium in the international market,” Jain said.
France, Nepal, Bangladesh and Vietnam are among the biggest buyers in the current year.
On the US-China tariff war, Jain said that there was good chance for the neighbouring country to consider supplies from India. However, China’s requirements are huge, he said. China had stopped importing soyameal from India for the past 6-7 years on quality issues.
Also the reports that Russia was considering regulating the genetically modified soyameal could open up new market for India, Jain said. India’s soyabean output had shrunk in the 2017-18 kharif season on account of lower yields and SOPA had pegged the output at 83.50 lt — much lower than the Agriculture Ministry’s estimate of 113.90 lt.
SOPA estimates that over three-fourth of the oilseed produced during 2017-18 has already arrived into the markets. Stocks with the crushing units, farmers and traders were estimated at around 32.11 lt. “The carry forward stocks for next year would be around half a million tonnes, possibly the lowest in recent years,” he said.
Acreage seen higher
A firm trend in soyabean prices ahead of the planting season may prompt more farmers to take up the sowing of the oilseed amidst forecast of a favourable monsoon in the year ahead. Soyabean prices have been hovering 15-20 per cent higher than the MSP for the past few months.
“We expect soyabean acreage to possibly increase by 10-15 per cent as farmers may shift from crops such as cotton and pulses such as urad,” Jain said.
Cotton farmers in Maharashtra and Telangana have faced crop losses during the 2017-18 cropping season on account of increased pest infestation, mainly the pink bollworm.
Also, pulses growers had taken a hit on account of weak prices for most part of the season.