2/2/2005 Agra Europe - India's summer oilseeds crop is expected to bounceback and match a year earlier's output, after erratic rains caused adecline in the winter harvest, traders said on Monday.
"The rapeseed and mustard crops are developing well and we may get one ofthe biggest crops in recent years," said Sandeep Bajoria, president of theCentral Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT).
Traders said that production of rapeseed and mustard, which accounts fortwo-thirds of the summer oilseeds output, is likely to reach 7 milliontonnes this year from 6.77mt a year ago.
But the area under sunflower and groundnut cultivation has fallen from theprevious summer and that could result in a lower output, they added.
"Overall we may get almost the same production level as we achieved in theprevious summer season," said Govindlal Patel, an edible oil trader basedin the western state of Gujarat.
India, the world's largest edible oil importer, produced about 10mt ofoilseeds in the last summer season. The winter oilseeds output fell 5.8%from a year earlier to 13.1mt.
Poor Monsoon rains usually affect both winter and summer crops. Therainfall in 2004 was 13% lower than normal, but rains in September andOctober gave good soil moisture for summer sowings.
Price rise encouraged farmers
According to traders, a 20% rise in rapeseed and mustard prices last yearencouraged farmers to expand their plantings. Government data shows thatthe land under cultivation of these crops rose to 6.6 million hectaresfrom 5.86m in the previous year.
In contrast, the area sown to sunflowers fell to 1.17m ha from 1.25m ha,while the land under groundnut dropped to 467 000ha from 507 00.