Castor seed oil demand to remain high

May 30th, 2008 - 11:17 am ICT by admin  

Ahmedabad, May 30 (IANS) Export of Indian castor seed oil would be robust in 2008-09 in spite of increases in shipping freight rates due to high crude oil price, industry leaders said here. According to Haresh Vyas of Mumbai-based Royal Castor Products Ltd, the demand for castor oil is “huge”. “The demand is non-elastic” and hence shipping freight increases will have hardly any impact on exports, he told IANS Friday.

However, the overseas demand for castor seed meal is currently sluggish, as the agricultural operations in the Far East countries, the major buyers of Indian castor seed, is yet to start.

Importers buy castor seed meal to make fertilisers and also use it as organic manure.

According to Vaman Udeshi, managing director of Mumbai-based Jayant Agro Industries, the demand for castor seed meal is currently low in South Korea, a major importer, as agricultural operations will start only after monsoon rains. “It is something like off-season now and there is less inclination to buy,” he said.

“We however expect the demand to be strong again from September,” Udeshi added.

South Korea and Taiwan are the leading importers of castor seed meal. Vietnam, China, Brazil and Europe are the other major consumers.

India is the largest castor seed meal exporter. In the last five years, there has been a 500 percent jump in exports. As on March 31 this year the total exports aggregated to 330,000 tonnes, up by 64 percent over that of the previous year, according to trade estimates.

The rupee appreciation had adverse impact on the output in 2007-08. But higher export prices provided more earnings.

Castor exports have benefited farmers in Gujarat in a big way, sources said. The state is the largest producer of castor in India. The total production of castor seed in Gujarat during 2007-08 was 910,000 tonnes accounting for 70 percent of the national output. Rajasthan is the second largest producer of castor seed with 16 percent.

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