India Markets closed

Tardy monsoon progress delaying kharif crop planting, says SEA chief

FE Bureau
kharif crop, agriculture sector

The tardy progress in the spread of southwest monsoon and prevailing heat wave conditions in many parts of the country have delayed planting in the current kharif season, with the area sown remaining nearly 8% lower than in the previous year, top officials in the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA) said.

SEA president Atul Chaturvedi said that the delayed onset of monsoon, which arrived at the Kerala coast on June 8, and the subsequent tardy progress has resulted in a whopping 42% rainfall deficit across the country till June 14.

According to the kharif sowing data released by the agriculture ministry, the area sown so far was 82.20 lakh hectare as compared 90.34 lakh hectare during the corresponding week in 2018-19. However, it is still early days to press the panic button and we feel sowing would pick up in coming days, he said.

Chaturvedi said the Association has made strong representations to the Prime Minister and concerned ministries to levy 10% additional cess on all imports of refined oil into the country and a delegation led by him had met the senior officials in the ministry of commerce, food, agriculture, and also CACP to apprise them of the plight of the domestic palm oil refining industry.

The association has made various suggestions and has recommended that the mission of edible oils should focus on three major oilseeds rape-mustard, soybean and groundnut. A massive thrust should be given to wean farmers of Punjab and Haryana from rice/wheat cycle and divert land to corn, soya, sunflower in kharif and mustard in rabi, he said, adding that this could be a game changer.

With the installation of the new government, the commerce ministry has been very active to resolve the issues affecting the export and provide the way forward for increasing exports. The association has submitted the list of the issues and solutions suggesting higher MEIS for oil meals, castor derivatives and fats of TBO, resolve the issue of export of Rapeseed-Mustard Meal and Soybean meal to China, easy availability of railway rakes, freight subsidy for export cargo, he said.

According to Chaturvedi, a disconcerting issue that has come to notice of FSSAI which involves the production of non-edible oil of 5-7% FFA from fatty acid (80-90 percent FFA) by using glycerin & some catalyst, and subsequently this oil, it is believed, is mixed with edible oil.