Soybean, often known as a nutritional powerhouse, plays a pivotal role in India’s agricultural landscape. Not only does it serve as a vital protein source, but its versatility extends to fodder, oil, and an array of food products. Remarkably, soybean accounts for a substantial 22 percent of India’s total edible oil production. Despite its potential to catapult India toward self-sufficiency in edible oil production, soybean faces the challenge of low productivity. In this blog, we’ll discuss soybean production in India, know the major soybean-producing states, its various seasons, and diverse varieties, and uncover the strategies driving the growth of soybean production in our nation.
Soybean production in India
In India, soybean is grown in two major seasons – Kharif (June to September) and Rabi (October to January). This legume is grown in various states across the country, including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Nagaland. For a while, Madhya Pradesh proudly wore the crown as the leading soybean producer in India. But now Maharashtra has claimed the top spot in soybean production.
According to a recent report by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, Maharashtra’s share in the country’s total soybean production has surged to an impressive 45.35%, while Madhya Pradesh’s contribution has dipped slightly to 39.83%. This data, specific to the 2021-22 period, marks a notable shift from 2017-18 when Madhya Pradesh’s soybean production dominated at 53.68%, and Maharashtra was trailing at just 33.51%.
The shift in soybean production can be attributed to recent weather patterns, primarily an abundance of rainfall in Madhya Pradesh. These excess rains have posed significant challenges for soybean crops in the region, impacting their yields. In contrast, farmers in Maharashtra are actively expanding soybean production while scaling back on cotton cultivation. The reason behind the same is that soybean offers low production costs, favourable market prices, and a relatively modest water footprint. As a result, soybean emerges as an attractive choice, taking a mere 100 days to mature compared to cotton’s more extended 150-day growth cycle.
Increase in soybean production in India
In the year 2021-22, India yielded a harvest of 119 lakh tonnes of soybean, a substantial leap from the 104.50 lakh tonnes recorded in the preceding year of 2020-21. According to the Soybean Research Institute, India reports a promising 12.07 million hectares of soybean production for the year 2022-23. However, this year the country has already produced about 124 lakh tonnes of soybeans.
Soybean varieties in India
There are many varieties of soybean grown in India including JS 335, JS 9305, JS 9560, and NH 1010. These varieties have been developed to suit different cultivation technologies as well as to align seamlessly with the needs of consumers.
Contribution of soybean in oil production
According to the Indian Institute of Soybean Research, soybean currently accounts for 42% of the total oilseed crops in the country and 22% of the total edible oil production. With the increase in population in India, the demand for edible oil is also increasing. However, only 40% of this demand is fulfilled by various oilseed crops. This leaves a significant shortfall of 60%, which the country addresses through imports. In this context, the significance of soybean cannot be overstated.
The increase in soybean production is a significant development in India. It’s happening because farmers are using new farming techniques and getting more support. However, increasing the production of soybeans is still a tough challenge for Indian researchers.
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