Mumbai: Soya bean output in India, Asia’s biggest exporter of soya bean meal, may reach a record next year after good monsoon showers and high prices spurred planting, a processors group said.
Output for the harvest starting October will surpass the 9.99 million tonnes (mt), estimated by the government for the previous season, Rajesh Agrawal, a spokesman for the Soybean Processors Association of India, said.
India’s record harvest will boost exports to countries including Vietnam, Japan and South Korea and pose competition to suppliers in the US, Argentina and Brazil. Record prices of soya beans, wheat and corn have encouraged plantings, helping ease a food shortage.
Farmers plough a soya bean field on the outskirts of Bhopal. Monsoon showers have raised hopes for a bumper crop. Photograph: Prakash Hatvalne / AP
“Exports will be robust and a bigger crop will ensure we have enough supplies to meet additional demand,” Agrawal said from Indore. Shipments will be more than the 5mt estimated for this year, he said.
The area planted with soya beans rose to 9.26 million ha by 11 August, 6% more than a year earlier, the group said in its first crop survey this year.
India, which grows non-genetically modified soya beans, sells more than 70% of its animal feed output abroad. Soya bean meal, India’s largest meal export, is added to poultry feed as a form of protein to aid birds’ growth.
The area planted with soya bean rose 4.4% to 5.2 million ha in Madhya Pradesh, which accounts for more than half of the country’s production, according to the group’s survey. It fell to 2.7 million ha in Maharashtra, the second biggest grower, from 3.2 million ha last year.
“The crop is in good condition and if the weather remains favourable in September, we will have a bumper crop,” Agrawal said. “Rains in the past few weeks have helped farmers sow the crop to the maximum area possible.”
Soya bean meal for December delivery rose as much as 1.7% to $357.80 (Rs15,313) a tonne in after-hours electronic trading on the Chicago Board of Trade at 9.27am. The futures have dropped 20% from the 3 July record of $445.70 a tonne on speculation of bigger crops in the US and China.