Oil seeds production to decline by 10% in 2015-16
Deepak Kumar | The Dollar Business
Even as the Indian edible oil processing industry is largely dependent on imports, the country’s oil seeds crop is estimated to decline further to about 126.10 lakh tonnes during the current kharif season, lower than 141.15 lakh tonnes produced last season. Total oil seeds trade during 2015-16 is projected to be 240.85 lakh tonnes, down almost 10% from 266.85 lakh tonnes during the previous fiscal. Vegetable oil yield from kharif oil seeds crops and other sources is estimated to be around 50.95 lakh tones, slightly lower than 53.57 lakh tonnes produced a year ago. Industry experts attributed this decline to an uncompetitive domestic market and sought government’s active support in encouraging farmers to boost domestic oil seeds production. “Farmers are not getting remunerative price for their production. They are losing interest in the oil seeds cultivation. Instead, they prefer to grow some other corps. Inadequate rain for the last two years has also added to their woes. We have urged the government several times to make our domestic market more competitive. This way, we can increase production and thus be less dependent on oil imports,” B V Mehta, Executive Director of the Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA), told The Dollar Business. Cotton seed production – prime contributor to the overall oil seeds trade— is expected to fall to 108.50 lakh tonnes from 119.20 lakh tonnes in 2014-15. Also, soyabean production is likely to decline by over 15%; falling from 85 lakh tonnes to 72 lakh tonnes in 2015-16. “There is a loss of focus on oil seed production. The government just keeps a check on wheat and rice; now it has started to focus on edible oil and oil seeds. Edible oil is the third item in the exchequer; we are spending about Rs.70,000 crore for the crude oil, after gold and edible oil,” Mehta said. The kharif cropping season begins in July and lasts till October. Major crops including rice, cereals, arhar (pulses), soyabean, groundnut (oil seeds) are grown during this season.
October 27, 2015 | 6:10pm IST.