Oilseed production in India in the 2023/24 marketing year (October-September) is forecast to remain flat at 41.5M tonnes – almost unchanged from the previous year, according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Expectations of unseasonably heavy rainfall and a predicted El Niño weather pattern following severe April-June heatwaves would expose oilseed crops to increased plant stress and impact yields, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)’s 17th April Oilseeds and Products Annual on India said.

Oil meal production was expected to remain steady at 20M tonnes while oil meal exports were forecast to fall to 1.9M tonnes, following a sharp increase in shipments in the current marketing year due to the popularity of competitively-priced Indian oil meals in southeast Asia, the USDA said.

India is forecast to remain one of the largest global consumers of edible oils and is expected to import 14.5M tonnes of various oils, with palm oil remaining the leading imported oil at 9M tonnes, followed by soyabean oil at 3.2M tonnes and sunflower oil at 2.2M tonnes, according to the report.

“Global decline in oilseed prices and relatively low import duties have stabilised domestic edible oil prices, leading to record ending stocks in the current year,” the USDA said.

India’s oilseed production includes soyabeans, rapeseed-mustard, peanuts, sunflowerseeds, cottonseeds, and coconut (copra).