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Vegetable oil imports see a drop for first time Strap

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AHMEDABAD: India has, for the first time, seen drop in vegetable oils imports during the first six months of oil year 2010-11 owing to better domestic availability. 

The imports dropped 16% from November to April. The country is world's top importer of vegetable oil and saw its imports dropping to 36.03 lakh tonne between November 2010 and April 2011 compared. 

Last year, India imported 42.9 lakh tonne vegetable oil during the same period. 

The import of vegetable oils in April 2011 is reported at 4.75 lakh tonne compared to 5.43 tonne in April 2010, suggesting a drop of 12.5%. 

April imports consist of 458,119 tonnes of edible oils and 17,004 tonnes of non-edible oils, according to data provided by the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA). 

"Due to higher oilseed production we have seen better domestic supply and hence lower imports," said Sushil Goenka, president of SEA. He expects imports to remain subdued during the remaining part of the year. 

The country has seen continuous rise in its oil imports in last decade. The imports rose from 50.9 lakh tonne during 2000-01 to a high of 92.4 lakh tonne during 2009-10. 

Revived oilmeals demand has helped crushers to get good price parity and led to an increase in crushing activity compared to last year. "This year, we processed 70% of local crops up from 50% last year," said Mr Goenka. 

India has been importing 50% of edible oil requirements as oilseed production has been stagnant since a decade. The imports have been on the rise as domestic consumption has been increasing. The per capita consumption currently pegged at 13.5 kg has risen from 9 kg five years back. 

"Consumption increased by 1-1.5 kg per person two years ago when edible oil prices where ruling at its low levels," said BV Mehta, executive director at SEA. As per his view, price levels plays significant role in deciding the consumption pattern. 

"Lesser prices mean more demand from the poor and so we will see high imports," said Mr Mehta. In absolute terms, the country saw 6-8 lakh tonne of increase in edible oil demand per year which can not be fulfilled without imports. 

As per Mr Mehta, the country will see 85 lakh tonne of edible oil imports during current oil year, a fall of 5-7 lakh tonne compare to 92.4 lakh tonne last year. 

"We have almost crushed 70% of domestic seeds and now with local supply remaining stagnant, we will see more imports in the remaining half," added Mr Mehta. He does not see country's dependence on imports will see any fall in coming years until big boosts to the domestic oilseed production. 

As a thumb rule, one-third portion constitutes of oil while the remaining two-third is of oil cakes. So if we consider the 2.7 lakh tonne of oilseed production, country's oil production would be in the range of 90 lakh tonne which is 60-70 lakh tonne short of the total 155-160 lakh tonne (120 billion into 13 kg) of oil requirements.

Strengthening rupee in last few months is supporting the import of vegetable oils and if this trend continues for coming months, the country can see rise in imports, believe sources. 

There is big gap prevailing between production data declared by the SEA, a leading body of oil processing industry, and the government. 

According to SEA, country has grown 2.7-2.75 crore tonne of oilseeds, while agriculture department estimate suggests 3 crore tonne of oilseed production during 2010-11. The country saw a 2.3-2.4 crore 
tonne of oilseed crop during year 2009-10. 

While kharif oilseeds crop remained flat, rapeseed crop saw a more than 20% rise during current ravi marketing season. "We have seen record rapeseed crop which helped to maintain good local oil supply," said Mr Goenka. 

Due to good monsoon in oil producing belt last season, rapeseed yield has remained at all-time high. Rapeseed registered a higher sowing of 95 lakh hectares during 2010-11 compared to 93 lakh hectares in 2009-10. 

As per the SEA claim, the country has seen a 74 lakh tonne of rapeseed production which was at 60 lakh tonne during last year. The government also fixed a 72 lakh tonne of rapeseed production.






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KLA: U.S. farmers and ranchers reach record agricultural exports

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Trade data released yesterday by USDA showed U.S. farm exports reached an all-time high of $75 billion during the first half of fiscal year 2011. This is a 27% increase compared to the same time period last year and, according to U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, puts the U.S. on track to reach the current export forecast of $135.5 billion by the end of the year.

March was the highest-grossing month for U.S. agricultural exports on record. During that month alone, farmers and ranchers exported $13.3 billion in agricultural goods, which is $407 million more than the previous record set in November 2010. China currently is the top export market. With $15.1 billion in farm exports, China accounted for 20% of all U.S. agricultural products. Canada is the second largest market.

Vilsack encouraged Congress to help U.S. farmers and ranchers sustain this record growth by moving quickly to pass the South Korea, Columbia and Panama trade agreements. When fully implemented, he said these three agreements have potential to add more than $2 billion per year to U.S. exports.

“Strong U.S. farm exports will be a key contributor to building an economy that continues to grow, innovate and out-compete the rest of the world,” said Vilsack.







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Wheat arrival surpasses previous year's record in Haryana

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Wheat arrivals in Haryana have surpassed last year's total purchases of over 63.47 lakh metric tonnes, with over 64.11 lakh metric tonnes of wheat having made their way into the mandis of the state till May 7.

The total arrival in the state is likely to be over 65 lakh metric tonnes.

While stating this on Sunday, an official spokesman said that Sirsa district was leading the rest of the state in terms of wheat arrival, with over 8.96 lakh metric tonnes of wheat arriving in the mandis so far, followed by Fatehabad district, where over 6.51 lakh metric tonnes of wheat has arrived in the mandis.

Out of the total arrivals of wheat, over 64.08 lakh metric tonnes of wheat have been purchased by government procuring agencies and the remaining 3,079 metric tonnes by traders, he added.

Giving a break-up of the wheat procured by government agencies, he said over 22.38 lakh metric tonnes of wheat has been purchased by HAFED, over 16.77 lakh metric tonnes by the Food and Supplies Department, over 7.95 lakh metric tonnes by Food Corporation of India, over 6.47 lakh metric tonnes by Haryana Agro Industries Corporation, over 5.84 lakh metric tonnes by Haryana Warehousing Corporation and over 4.65 lakh metric tonnes by CONFED.





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Himachal Pradesh shown way to Nation in Agriculture Development says CM

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Shimla: Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh had taken a lead by allocating 12 percent of total plan budget for agriculture and allied activities which was the highest percentage in the country. He said that launching ambitious schemes like Kisan-Bagwan Samridhi Yojna, Doodh Ganga Yojna and other had borne fruits and the State had been given Agriculture State Leadership Award 2010 on the basis of State’s Best performance in a nation-wide survey by a prestigious agency.

Chief Minister was speaking on the occasion of a function organized by Vishav Samvad Kendra, Lucknow in his honour today.

Chief Minister said that 3.75 lac soil health cards had been issued to the farmers in the State and by the end of this financial year all the farmers would be given these cards.

He said that to promote the diversification in agriculture production and organic farming Rs. 323 crore project would be implemented in the State with the assistance of Japan International Co-operative Agency.

Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal said that Himachal Pradesh had also shown the way to the nation by imposing complete ban on plastic and polythene bags and also taken a decision in principle to ban the use of plastic cup and plates from August 15 next.

On the basis of State Governments spectacular performance in the State, Himachal Pradesh had been conferred the Prime Minister Award for Excellence in Public Administration for 2009-10 for the initiative viz sustainable plastic waste management in Himachal Pradesh. He said that environment friendly vehicle would also be introduced to dispose off the plastic and polythene lying on road side.

Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal said that the other State’s had also followed Himachal Pradesh for management of Plastic and Polythene after having been seen its success.

Referring to the agriculture and horticulture development in the State, Chief Minister said that Anti Hailgun had been established on pilot basis which was one of its own kind in Asia. These guns would also be set up in other parts of apple and other fruits growing areas of the State. He said that emphasis had also been laid on creating marketing infrastructure so as to ensure proper marketing of the agriculture produce.

Earlier, replying to a question of media persons, Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal said that he was in favour of small States on the basis of geographical and cultural consideration for delivering the goods in a befitting manner.

Shri Kalraj Mishar, Member Parliament said that the development model of Himachal Pradesh should be adopted by other States. He also lauded the State for setting new records of development despite difficult geographical condition of the State.

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"Centre gave Rs 222-cr grant for agriculture"

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JAIPUR: A two-day state level workshop on Kharif-2011 kicked-off at Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) on Wednesday. R K Meena, principal secretary, department of agriculture, told officials, "We have received a Rs 222-crore grant from the Centre to develop agriculture in the state." 

Meena spoke on policies and schemes launched by the Centre. He along with others launched the Agriculture Guide-2011-12 that has information on crop pattern in various regions, monsoon prediction and irrigation facilities available in the state. Meena asked the officials assembled to popularise organic farming and drip irrigation, besides launching a campaign against the use the pesticides. Experts at the workshop discussed how to increase the per hectare productivity of crops in the state. 

"Gram panchayats have to play a vital role in popularising government policies and schemes. They should open kiosks or centres where farmers from nearby villages can gain information on all subjects," Meena added.




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