Agri Business

Buyers abroad shun costlier Indian soyameal

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on April 30, 2021

Shipments slow down after 166% growth last fiscal, but may gather pace after Oct

After a surge in soyameal exports in recent months, the shipments are seen slowing down as overseas buyers shun the expensive Indian oilmeal.

Shipments are set to gain momentum once the new crop arrives in October. Trade sources said the slowdown in shipments should improve the domestic availability providing some respite for key consuming sectors like poultry.

India’s soyameal exports more than doubled during the financial year-ended March 2021 to 15.46 lakh tonnes in volumes as against 6.92 lakh tonnes in the previous year on robust purchases by countries such as the United States, Germany and Indonesia among others.

In value terms, exports registered a growth of 166 per cent at ₹5,825 crore over previous year’s ₹2,185 crore.

Exports jumped last year mainly due to better realisation, thanks to lesser supply from Argentina and Brazil coupled with good demand of Non-GMO soybean meal from the US and Europe and revival of export to Iran.

Out-priced

“Now, we are totally out-priced in the international market due to the high soyabean and meal prices. If buyers are getting it at $500-550 a tonne from elsewhere, why will anyone buy the Indian meal for $800,” said BV Mehta, Executive Director, Solvent Extractors Association of India, the apex trade body for the edible oils industry.

Traditionally, the April-September shipments of soyameal slow down, but this year the Indian meal is totally out-priced due to high domestic price.

Ex-factory prices for the FAQ quality of soyameal is quoted around ₹62,000-62,500 per tonne. In dollar terms this will be $800-900 per tonne.

“You can’t export meal at this price. At the moment, exports are zero. Only those contracts that were committed at the higher price level and speciality value-added products are taking place,” said D N Pathak, Executive Director of Soyabean Processors Association of India.

Good for domestic sector

In fact, the slowdown in shipments is good for the domestic consuming sector. “We have shortage and exports not taking place is a blessing for consuming sectors like poultry. There will be better availability in the domestic market till the next crop comes inOctober,” Mehta said.

Normally, the soyabean crushing picks up from October once the new crop arrives and go on till February-March, a period during which exports of soyameal peak.

The US was the biggest buyer of Indian meal during 2020-21 with over 2.26 lakh tonnes, closely followed by Germany at over 2.15 lakh tonnes.

Neighbouring countries Nepal at 1.51 lakh tonnes, Bangladesh at 1.09 lakh tonnes and Indonesia at 1.28 lakh tonnes were the other large buyers.

Purchases by Iran, another large buyer were short of a lakh tonne at 97,250 tonnes.

SOPA has estimated that soymeal production for 2020-21 oil year to be around 76.46 lakh tonnes, of which the domestic feed industry is seen at 51 lakh tonnes, domestic food segment at 7 lakh tonnes and exports at 18 lakh tonnes.

Published on April 29, 2021

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