The government has approved the import of about 0.55 million tonnes (mt) of genetically modified (GM) soybean meal, a key ingredient in poultry feed.
According to a notice from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, shipments of soybean meal must be imported by September 30, 2022.
In August 2021, on an exceptional basis due to domestic supply constraints, the government had authorized the import of 1.2 tons of GM soybean meal to help the poultry industry cope with rising prices of Food for animals. But only about 0.6 tons could be imported due to time constraints. Soy flour is mainly imported from Argentina.
The poultry industry had asked the government to allow the balance of 0.6 tonnes of soybean meal from last year this year. Ricky Thaper, treasurer of the Poultry Federation of India, said imports would help bring prices down, helping to lower the cost of feed.
Earlier in the week, the Soybean Processor Association of India (SOPA) said importing soybean meal would be “counterproductive” and depress the domestic price of soybeans.
“India has sufficient stock of soybean meal and import would negatively impact the crushing of soybean crop which is expected to start from October 2022 after harvesting of kharif crop,” it had been told. FE DN Pathak, Executive Secretary of SOPA.
Lower domestic prices are expected to hit farmers the hardest, Pathak said. Currently, soybean prices are hovering around Rs 6,800 per quintal against a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 3,950 per quintal.
SOPA’s Pathak said the poultry industry’s estimated annual demand of 9 tonnes is rather high. The processors body had estimated that the annual demand for soybean meal for the poultry industry was 5 to 6 tonnes.
In a communication to Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary of the Ministry of Livestock, SOPA said that at the end of the current season which ends in September 2022, the country will have a carryover stock of 2 tonnes of unground soybeans before new kharif crops. arrived.
“There is no justification for importing soybean meal as higher domestic prices for soybeans and soybean meal are a reality,” the SOPA communication said.
Of the total soybean production in the country, 81% is used as soybean meal while 18% is extracted as oil and the rest is considered as processing losses. Currently, domestic soybean meal prices are around Rs 68,000 per ton, while imported prices are currently around Rs 58,000 per ton, which includes 16% import duty.
The Ministry of Agriculture has estimated the country’s soybean production for the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) at 13.12 tons, while according to SOPA’s estimate, the production is around 11, 88 tons.
Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan contribute over 90% of India’s soybean production.