The Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India has said the sowing of oilseeds has picked up despite a delayed onset of monsoon.

In his monthly letter to the members of the association on Monday, Ajay Jhunjhunwala, President of SEA of India, said the acreage under oilseeds was reported at 139.3 lakh hectares (lh) as of July 14, against 137 lh during the corresponding period a year ago.

However, he said, there has been a decrease of 1.86 lh in soyabean acreage. Groundnut acreage has increased by 2.13 lh due to beneficial cyclone rains, he said.

Stating that the monsoon is performing relatively well, he said most oilseed production areas are receiving sufficient rain for sowing.

North-West India and Central India received excess rain as on July 12, although East and North-East India are still facing a deficit. Overall, the country received 2 per cent above normal rainfall, he said, adding, sowing has now picked up despite a slow start due to the delayed onset of monsoon.

Higher yield in model farm

SEA has been working on model farm for castor since the last seven years. SEA, along with Solidaridad, working on model farms of mustard since the last four years. On the results of these initiatives, he said the yield has increased by 30-50 per cent in both the crops.

During the current season, SEA, along with Solidaridad, has launched groundnut and paddy model farm programme in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh with over 200 farms to begin with.

Concern over fall in prices

On the domestic price of edible oil, Jhunjhunwala said the Government is seriously concerned about the domestic price of edible oil and expects a fall in prices in line with the declining international market.

“In recent virtual meetings with officials from the Department of Food and Public Distribution, we discussed the decrease in edible oil prices in the country compared to the falling international prices. We have conveyed that major brands have already reduced the prices of edible oils over the last few months in alignment with the falling global market. We urge all members to reduce maximum retail price and price-to-distributor of edible oils in line with the reducing international market scenario,” he said.

Distributors have been requested to monitor retailers in their network to ensure that the margin of profit is also reduced along with the maximum retail price, and that the selling price of old stock in circulation in the market aligns with the latest price reduction, he said.

Thai expanding palm area

Stating that Thailand is expanding its oil palm plantation, he said it is producing about 3.2-3.5 million tonnes of palm oil. A significant portion of that is being exported to India.

He said SEA has been invited by the Thailand government to depute a trade delegation to visit Surat Thani (South Thailand) to study the Thai palm oil complex and strengthen direct rapport between Thai producers and suppliers of palm oil and Indian importers and refiners.

He will be leading a 20-member delegation to Thailand during August 23-27.