July 20, 2015
85% decline: 'India might permanently lose soy meal export market'
During its heyday in fiscal year 2008-09, India's soybean meal exports reached a record 4.24 million tonnes. Six years later in 2014-15, exports dropped drastically by around 85% to just 0.64 million tonnes.
This significant drop is largely attributed to speculation and unrealistic approach in handling established export markets, says the study entitled "Soybean: Time to regain lost ground," conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
Yet, India is looking at a rich harvest of over 12 million tonnes of soybean meal this year, putting further pressure on the domestic prices as India has become globally uncompetitive. Soybean meal, also known as soyabean oil cake, is a solid residue byproduct created after grinding the soybean to extract soybean oil.
"Soybean scenario in India is currently at crossroads due to erratic production, declining soybean meal exports and consequent idling of plants, poor soybean oil output while edible oil imports are growing and currently account for almost 60% of country's total requirement", said DS Rawat, national secretary general of Assocham.
"Unless a targetted approach is initiated, India might permanently lose export market for soybean meal that has been so assiduously built over decades," Mr Rawat warned.
The poultry and swine industries are major consumers of soybean meal, with over half of it used as poultry feed, about a quarter as swine feed, and the rest for beef cattle, dairy cattle and pets.
Assocham pointed out the need to rebuild foreign buyers' confidence and make Indian soybean meal competitive in global markets due to volatility in soybean oil prices.
It added that modern techniques in soy cultivation must be introduced; irrigation must be enhanced; economic and institutional support must be provided; and post-harvest, marketing and value-addition support should be undertaken to raise production and improve profitability in soybean cultivation.-Rick Alberto (firstname.lastname@example.org)