Soyabean although rich in protein (about 40 per cent) contains a moderate 20 per cent of oil has attained greater importance as an oilseed on account of its easy adaptability and resilience for cultivation in a wide variety of climatic conditions as well as capability to give high yields compared to any other oilseed. Consequently, soyabean has become the largest producing oilseed, contributing for nearly 60 per cent of total world oilseeds production. It is an annual legume of the Fabaceae family and is believed to have derived from Glycine nosuriensis. Although, soyabean a native of South East Asia, majority of the world's soyabean has been cultivated in the United States.

Soyabean is a tropical season crop but can be cultivated subtropical and temperate climates as well. Though, the plant is resistant to relatively extreme temperatures, optimum growth takes place between 10 o C to 30 o C. Soyabean is normally cultivated as a kharif crop in India. It comes up well within a rainfall of 600 mm to 1000 mm. The crop can be cultivated in most types of soil but thrives best in warm, fertile and clay land.

World scenario

North and south Americas together contribute for about 90 per cent of soyabean production. Among all major soybean-producing countries, the US occupies the first place both in terms of area and production followed by Brazil and Argentina. China and India occupies the fourth and fifth places respectively accounting for about 8 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively. Production in the US has declined marginally during the past two years but has posted a significant increase of 28 per cent in the 2004-05. On the other hand, soyabean production in Brazil and Argentina has been increasing consistently during the past five years.

Production and Trade

Production of soybean is projected to reach a record 219 million tones in 2004-05 posting a 16 per cent growth over that in the previous year. More than 80 per cent of soyabean produced in the world is traded externally every year. Production and trade has been growing consistently at annual growth rate of nearly seven per cent during the past five years.

Table 1: Soybean balance sheet for world

(million tonnes)

 

Production

Trade

Extent of trade

End stocks

2000-2001

175.9

146.9

84

31.9

2001-2002

185.1

158.3

86

33.3

2002-2003

197.1

165.1

84

40.7

2003-2004

188.8

164.3

87

37.4

2004-2005

219.2

174.3

80

52.6

P: provisional f: forecast source: Oil world

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