India’s winter-sown oilseeds harvest may drop by almost 10% this year because of a reduced planting area, raising the possibility of increased overseas purchases of vegetable oils by the world’s second biggest buyer.
Falling numbers: Output of mustard seed, the country’s biggest winter-sown oilseed crop, may fall 15.4% to 5.09mt this year.
Output may fall to 8.6 million tonnes (mt) from 9.52mt a year earlier, B.V. Mehta, a member of the crop committee of the Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade, said on Monday.
Vegetable oil imports may climb 5.3% to as much as 5.9mt in the year to 31 October, Mehta added.
Increased imports by India may support palm oil prices that have more than doubled in the past year, reaching a record 4,173 ringgit (Rs51.95) a tonne on Monday on demand for cooking and biofuels.
India’s vegetable oil imports, mostly palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia, are second only to those of China.
“The area is down because dry weather delayed sowing and in some cases farmers shifted to other crops,” Mehta said by phone from Mumbai, referring to wheat and barley which benefited from higher prices. “Frost also damaged the crop.”
Output of mustard seed, the country’s biggest winter-sown oilseed crop, may fall 15.4% to 5.09mt this year, said Mehta, who is also executive director of India’s Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA).
Mustard seed, usually planted from October to November and harvested from February to March, accounts for more than 70% of the nation’s output of winter-sown oilseeds. Its yellow-coloured oil is the third most used cooking oil in India after palm oil and soybean oil. India’s edible oil imports rose 46% to 4,57,601 tonnes in January, from 3,12,584 tonnes a year earlier, the SEA said on 14 February.
Crude palm oil imports increased 75% to 3,66,353 tonnes, while crude soyabean oil purchases fell to 83,750 tonnes in January from 84,258 tonnes.