Indian oil firms eye land in Paraguay, Uruguay and Myanmar to grow crops

by Dave

Money Matters – livemint.com

Some of the country’s top vegetable oil firms plan to lease or buy land in Paraguay, Uruguay and Myanmar to grow oilseeds and lentils as farmland shrinks in the South Asian nation, a top trade official said on Tuesday.

Despite being the world’s second biggest grower of rice and wheat and the leading importer of vegetable oils after China, India has recently been pinched by rising global food prices.
Policymakers fear climate change could squeeze the amount of land available to farmers even further.

“We have formed a consortium of 14 vegetable oil companies, which is in talks with the governments of Paraguay, Uruguay, and Myanmar for buying large tracts of land for cultivating soya bean, sunflower and pulses,” Ashok Sethia, president of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, said.

India consumes 18 million tonnes (mt) of lentils and imports from
Myanmar, Tanzania, Australia, Canada and Ukraine to bridge a shortfall
of about 4mt of the food.
It also imports almost half of the
11mt or so of edible oil it consumes
, and buys palm oil from Malaysia
and Indonesia and soya oil from Brazil and Argentina.
Sethia said some importers were buying oil palm plantations in Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producer.
“Growing
rice and wheat overseas does not seem feasible. Growing oilseeds and
lentils is. Do not be surprised to see more of this in the days to
come
,” he said.

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