Mumbai: A bumper crop next cotton year—mainly because of the extensive use of Bt cotton—may boost cottonseed oil production by more than 22% to more than 1.1 million tonnes (mt), a trade body official said.
The output for the year ending September is estimated at 0.9mt, said B.V. Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors’? Association? of? India.
Cotton is primarily a kharif crop sown during the monsoon months and marketed from October to September.
Marketable cottonseed surplus next year should be 8.6mt, up from 7.8mt in the year-ago period, said Mehta.
Oil recovery in Bt cotton is 1-2% higher from about 11% for the normal variety, Mehta added.
The area under genetically- modified Bt cotton cultivation is likely to cross 55% next year, from this year’s 37%, of the total area under cotton cultivation, latest official data showed.
Cottonseed oil is cheaper than most other edible oils, and gaining in popularity in the Indian market, promising better returns to those in the trade, say industry officials.
“Consumers are now accepting cottonseed oil,” said Bipin Patel, managing partner, S.K. Industries, a cottonseed and groundnut crusher from Gujarat. “It is now the second most preferred oil after groundnut,” he added.
In fact, groundnut oil costs 35-40% more than cottonseed oil.
Gujarat is India’s biggest producer of both commodities.
Consistent demand for cottonseed in 2006-07 has seen the realization go up by more than 17% to an average of about Rs1,150 per 100kg compared to the previous year, said N.M. Sharma, managing director, Gujarat State Co-operative Cotton Federation.
The federation procures cotton from the farmers and sells cottonseeds to the crushers, he said.
“Despite the expectations of a record production this year, we hope to get better price for cottonseed,” Sharma added.