India’s soybean output is likely to rise by a staggering 38 per cent this year on a sharp increase in average yield across the country, following favourable climatic condition in major cultivating states including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Data captured through the latest assessment of farmers, traders and other stakeholders by the apex industry body the Soybean Processors’ Association (SOPA) showed India’s total soybean output standing at 11.48 million tonnes during the ongoing harvesting season as compared to 8.36 million tonnes in the previous season.
During the current season, soybean acreage was up 6.7 per cent to 10.84 million hectare (ha) from 10.16 million ha in the previous season. Average yield rose 29 per cent to 1,059 kg per ha for the current harvesting season from 823 kg in the previous season.
“Based on exhaustive survey, we estimate India’s soybean output at 11.48 million tonnes this year compared to 8.3 million tonnes in the previous year on favourable climatic conditions,” said D N Pathak, Spokesperson, SOPA.
The survey finds a staggering 41 per cent increase in soybean output in Madhya Pradesh to 5.92 million tonnes for the current season from 4.2 million tonnes last year. Total yield in the state is estimated to rise by 30.5 per cent to 1,094 kg per ha for the current season from 838 kg from the previous season. Total acreage under soybean jumped by eight per cent in Madhya Pradesh to 5.41 million ha this year from five million ha last year.
The survey presented a surprising picture in Maharashtra despite droughts in many agricultural pockets in the state. Soybean output in Maharashtra is estimated to rise by 32 per cent to 3.84 million tonnes for this year from 2.91 million ha last year. Known for its drought resistant nature, the crop's yield in the state jumped by 25 per cent to 1,054 kg per ha this year from 843 ha last year. Farmers brought in 5.5 per cent of additional area, which lifted overall sowing under soybean to 3.64 million ha this year from 3.45 million ha last year.
The Union Ministry of Agriculture in its First Advanced Estimate forecast India’s overall soybean output at 13.46 million tonnes for the current year as compared to 10.98 million tonnes for 2017-18.
Despite increase in overall output, soybean prices has been moving up for quite sometime now. Overall soybean prices have jumped by around 20 per cent in the last two months following increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of this kharif sown crop.
The government has fixed soybean MSP at Rs 3399 a quintal for 2018-19 as compared to Rs 3050 a quintal for the previous year.
“Higher output would result into availability of more quantity of soybean for crushing and therefore an increase in India’s refined soya oil output. This will translate into a proportionate decline in the India’s edible oil import,” said an analyst.