September 25, 2008

India oilseeds output may rise as rains spur soy plantings

India, the world's biggest buyer of vegetable oil after China, may produce more monsoon-sown oilseeds as early rains increase planting of soy.

Output may total 20.84 million tonnes, 5 percent more from a year earlier, Federal Agriculture Commissioner N.B. Singh said in an interview in New Delhi today. That's higher than the 17.5 million tonnes forecast this month by Govindlal G. Patel, who has been trading commodities for more than four decades.


Higher production will boost exports of animal feed, made mostly from soy, to countries including Vietnam, Japan and South Korea and pose competition to suppliers from US, Brazil and Argentina, according to the Solvent Extractors' Association. Record prices of soy, wheat and corn earlier this year have spurred plantings, helping ease a global shortage.


Soy Processors Association of India, a trade body, said that farmers in the central Madhya Pradesh state, which accounts for more than half of India's soy output, planted the crop 15 to 20 days earlier than normal.


Soy, which makes up about half of the nation's oilseed production, was sown in 9.56 million hectares, 9.4 percent more from a year ago, according to the farm ministry.


Monsoon rains, which account for four-fifths of the nation's annual showers, were 11 percent above average in the week ended Sept 17, according to the India Meteorological Department.


India, which grows non-GM soy, sells more than 70 percent of its animal feed output abroad. The meal is fed to animal as a form of protein to aid growth.


Monsoon-sown oilseeds, which make up more than 60 percent of the nation's total output, are planted in June and harvested this month. Winter-sown oilseeds make up for the remainder.

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