Groundnut production to decline by 7 lakh tonnes in state this year: SOMA
Groundnut oil prices may touch Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 1,700 per 15 kg
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Saurashtra Oil Millers Association (SOMA) has forecast groundnut production of 10 lakh tonnes for the fiscal 2009-10, which is almost 7 lakh tonnes less compared to last year production in the state.
The state government has pegged the area covered under groundnut crop in Gujarat at 14 lakh hectare However, SOMA disagreed with the government figure in its Annual General Meeting. The trade body is of the view that groundnut sowing has come down substantially as farmers diverted to the cotton crop.
According to data released by SOMA, groundnut production is estimated to be 3.25 lakh tonnes from Junagadh, 3 lakh tonnes from Jamnagar, 90,000 to 1 lakh tonnes from Rajkot , 50,000 tonnes from Amreli, 50,000 tonnes from Porbandar, 25,000 tonnes from Bhavnagar and 80,000 tonnes are estimated to be from Surendranagar and Kutch. Production in rest of Gujarat will be about 25,000-30,000 tonnes, the data further states.
"The total production will not exceed 10 lakh tonnes", said SOMA. "As farmers do not get a good price for groundnut, they have shifted to cotton and other profitable crops. As a result of this, oil mills are facing shortage of raw material, so the price of groundnut oil may firm up to Rs.1500-1700 per 15 kg in the near future," said Ukabhai Patel, president of SOMA. He also advised millers against duplication or mixing of groundnut oil.
"State government is presenting wrong data of sowing. Maximum farmers this year have turned to cotton crop as they are not happy with the groundnut prices offered to them. Moreover, scanty rains have also hurt the productivity. Groundnut crops in south Gujarat have almost failed due to bad rains," Patel added.
With the import of edible oil having increased due to international prices of palm and soya oil coming down and because the import of these oils has become duty free. SOMA has decided to request the Central government to impose duty on imported edible oil and to give permission of groundnut export.
India produces about 2 lakh tonnes groundnuts and exports about 40,000 tones. Mainly western states like Gujarat and Maharashtra are major consumers of groundnut oil. But since the last 4-5 years, people even in these states have switched to cotton seed oil, owing to high prices of groundnut oil and the rising health consciousness.
With the rising inflation and decreasing domestic production of groundnut in the state, the traders are miffed with the government. "In order to control inflation, government took unnecessary steps and restricted groundnut oil export. The government should understand that unnecessary controlling is not the solution and take steps to increase domestic production," said Samir Shah of Rajmoti Oil Mill.