Lucrative soya prices may increase soybean acreage by 5-7% across India, despite seeds shortage

Soybean planting is likely to increase its acreage by 5-7 per cent across the country this kharif season despite claims of shortage of seeds. Farmers, however, are keeping their fingers crossed due to the break in monsoon and hope for a revival of the monsoon to ensure a good crop.

In the 2020 kharif season, soybean cultivation took place on 120 lakh hectares and the yield was about 105 lakh tonnes. Record high prices for the oilseed could prompt some to switch from cultivating competing commodities such as cotton and pulses, industry officials said. Soybean prices jumped to a record high of Rs 8,100 a quintal on the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange a couple months ago and are currently trading at Rs 7,620 per quintal.

The Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) said that the area under cultivation could see an increase by 5-7 per cent subject to the fact it rains in the next five to six days. There has been shortage of certified seeds and they have been selling at high prices, but farmers have prepared their own seeds and there no real shortage in the market. SOPA expects area under soybean cultivation to increase in Maharashtra and Rajasthan but is likely to go down to some extent in Madhya Pradesh (MP).

Several soybean farmers are facing a huge shortage of soyabean seeds for planting. Madhya Pradesh is the largest soybean producer in the country and soybean seeds are either not available or selling at exorbitant prices (between Rs 10,000-12,000 per quintal). MP agriculture minister Kamal Patel advised farmers not to grow the “loss-making” crop. In the current kharif season, the government has set a target of sowing soybean in 63.74 lakh hectares.

In Maharashtra, the government has claimed that there was no shortage of soybean seeds and sowing was in full swing. Senior officials from the Department of Agriculture said that they have not received any complaints regarding re-sowing although there has been a lull in the monsoon. Maharashtra cultivates soybean on approximately 40 lakh hectares.

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