Source: USDA
Source: USDA

Worldwide production of vegetable oils is forecast to increase to record levels in the 2024/25 crop year, according to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data reported by Germany’s Union for the Promotion of Plants and Protein (UFOP).

Although soyabean and palm oil production was forecast to increase, sunflower oil output was expected to decline, the report said.

However, despite an anticipated growth in global vegetable oil production, the potential for waste oil remained limited, UFOP said on 22 May.

The USDA’s latest outlook for 2024/25 estimates global vegetable oil production totalling 228.3M tonnes in 2024/25. This would be a 4.5M tonne increase compared to the previous year and would cover estimated demand of 224.9M tonnes.

According to research by Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft, palm oil is set to remain the world’s most important vegetable oil in terms of manufacture and consumption, with global output estimated at 80M tonnes – accounting for just over 35% of total global production and 715,000 tonnes higher than the previous year.

Indonesia remained the largest palm oil producer with an output of 47.5M tonnes, followed by Malaysia with 19M tonnes and Thailand with just under than 3.4M tonnes.

Soyabean oil production was expected to increase by just under 3M tonnes to 65.4M tonnes in the coming crop year and could hit a new record.

China remained the leading soyabean oil producer with production totalling 18.5M tonnes, although this figure included large seed imports. The USA ranked second with 12.9M tonnes.

Rapeseed oil production was expected to total 34M tonnes in 2024/25, slightly less than in the previous year.

Sunflowerseed oil production was expected to drop around 103,000 tonnes to 21.7M tonnes in 2024/25 mainly due to declining sunflowerseed oil production in Argentina and Ukraine.

An expected increase in sunflower oil production in the EU-27 was unlikely to offset these decreases, the report said.

With global vegetable oil production expected to continue, the UFOP said that a distinction should be made between products certified as sustainable and products not certified as sustainable and that the potential for waste oils was naturally limited.

Regarding waste oils for biofuels production, the UFOP said it was irrelevant whether the feedstock was sourced from deforested areas or not. For this reason, the association said it believed the EU cap of 1.7% of fuel consumption in road and rail traffic was appropriate.

Based on estimates that 5%-10% of global vegetable oil production could be collected as waste oil, this would translate to a global waste oil tonnage of approximately 11.4M-22.8M tonnes, the association said.