New Delhi: Higher demand and prices for vegetable oils have prompted Indian farmers to sow oilseeds over a greater area so far in June from a year ago, the government said.
India sowed oilseeds on 1.92 million ha between 1 June and 26 June, up from 1.84 million ha in the same period a year ago, and analysts said 2008 figures would pull further ahead.
Higher oilseed output will help India cut expensive imports of palm oil and soya oil. India imports around half of its annual domestic consumption of about 11 million tonnes of vegetable oils.
Planting of soya bean, the main summer-sown oilseed, fell to 811,000ha up to 26 June, from 996,000ha in the same period last year, the latest data released by the agriculture ministry showed. But sowing of groundnut in the same period was at 904,000ha, sharply up from 506,000ha in 2007.
Sugar cane planting since 1 June fell marginally to 4.09 million ha from 4.74 million ha in the same period last year.
Encouraged by rising prices, farmers planted corn on 889,000ha, up from 641,000ha last year.
Sowing of cotton reached 1.50 million ha against 1.54 million ha.