India may replace China as world's largest Soy oil importer:US

India is expected to replace China as the world's largest soybean oil importer, the US Department of Agriculture said and projected India can become the third largest rice exporter by 2012.

"India is projected to replace China as the world's largest soybean oil importer. In the projections, India's soybean oil imports climb 28 per cent to 1.2 million tons," it said.

Factors that contribute to the continued growth of India's soyoil imports include burgeoning demand for vegetable oils and a limited capacity to expand domestic oilseed production.

Low yields, associated with excessive monsoon rainfall and low input use, also inhibit growth of oilseed production, the report said.

Noting that in 2008, in response to high world prices, India cut its edible oil import tariffs to zero, the USDA said it is assumed that during the next decade, India's soybean oil tariff will gradually return to its previous rate of 45 per cent and tariffs for the other major imported oils¿palm and sunflower¿will remain below their historical highs of 75 to 85 per cent.

The USDA said by 2021, India is expected to be the third largest rice exporter of the world.

"India's rice exports are projected to rise to about 4.8 million tons by 2021, making it the third-largest exporter," it said.

India's rice-export levels it said have been volatile, primarily due to fluctuating stock levels and Government policies.

"India's exports have been well below previous levels for the last several years as exports of non-basmati rice have largely been banned since the spike in world prices in early 2008. In September 2011, the Government eased this ban," the USDA report said.

On cotton, the report said its improved yields in India, largely due to the adoption of Bt cotton, have raised India's production and exports in recent years.

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