India’s soybean output may rise 20% in 2018-19; cotton output may decline this season

Soybean production in India is set to jump about 20% to over 10 million tonnes in the 2018/2019 crop year that starts in October, industry body Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) said.

Higher production in the world’s top importer of edible oils could curb its appetite for cargoes from overseas, potentially dragging on international soybean prices.

India is likely to churn out 8.3 million tonnes of soybeans in the 2017/2018 crop year that ends on September 30, the association said.

The amount of land in India planted with soybeans for the 2018/2019 crop year had risen to 11.1 million hectares as of August 10, according to government data, up from 10.2 million hectares at the same time the previous year.

However, monsoon rains are likely to be below average in 2018, after some parts of the country experienced tepid rainfall during the first-half of the season.

India’s cotton production, however, is likely to decline by 3-4 per cent this year to about 350 lakh bales following deficit rainfall, decline in acreage and the outbreak of the pink bollworm infestation on crops, the Cotton Association of India (CAI) said in a report.

“Major cotton growing states are facing issues, including deficit rainfall and shifting away from cotton to other crops, resulting in a decline in acreage and the outbreak of the pink bollworm infestation. This is likely to affect cotton production by 3-4 per cent this year to 350 lakh bales,” CAI said.

In its July estimate, CAI had pegged cotton output for the ongoing season (October-September) at 365 lakh bales.

The deficit rainfall in Gujarat has affected sowing in the State, CAI said. “In Gujarat, the crops are already affected due to lack of adequate rainfall. The State is already facing a 7 per cent deficit,” the association said in a statement.

In the country overall, sowing till August 27 stood at 116 lakh hectares compared to 124.50 lakh hectares in the same period last year. Overall sowing is likely to reach 120 lakh hectares this season, CAI said.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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