Agri Business

SOPA opposes poultry sector’s demand to extend deadline for GM soyameal imports

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Nov 29, 2021
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Supply situation is comfortable, fundamentals don’t support any need for further imports, says Chairman

The Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) opposed the demand for extension of the period for import of GM soyameal to March 31, as requested by the poultry industry.

In a letter to the Union Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fishing, SOPA Chairman Davish Jain said the soyameal supply situation is comfortable and fundamentals do not support any need for further imports by extending the date of shipments. The current prices of soyameal are reasonable, keeping in mind soyabean prices and farmers expectations.

Supply and demand

Giving details about the supply and demand projections of soyabean and soyameal for 2021-22, he said the total supply of soyabean for 2021-22 is 123.72 lakh tonnes (lt). Of this, there will be a carry-forward stock of 16.22 lt for the next year, after considering 92 lt for crushing, 12 lt for sowing, 3 lt for direct consumption, and 0.50 lt for exports.

In the case of soyameal, there is an availability of 79.84 lt for 2021-22. Of this, there will be a carry-forward stock of 1.84 lt for the next year, after considering 58 lt for poultry and aqua feeds, 12 lt for exports, and 8 lt for usage as food.

He said any comparison with the soyameal prices in Argentina and Brazil is totally unjustified as the soyabean prices in those countries are currently ruling at $460 FOB or ₹34,500 a tonne, while the MSP in India itself is ₹39,500 a tonne. “The farmer is absolutely not willing to sell soyabean at MSP because his cost of production has gone up substantially and the MSP is no more remunerative,” he said.

Stating that the sharp rally in prices earlier this year was a result of unhealthy speculation by traders, he said SOPA is separately taking up the matter with the Department of Consumer Affairs to closely monitor the speculative activity and unreasonable price rise in soyabean. “We expect that the prices will remain stable given the comfortable demand and supply situation,” he said.

It may be mentioned here that the government had allowed the import of 12 lt of GM soyabean meal to support the poultry industry during the period when the local soyabean meal prices went up sharply.

“Out of the permission for 12 lt, around 5-6 lt of soyabean meal have been imported between September and November this year, enabling the poultry industry to tide over the difficult period,” Jain said. “We understand that the poultry industry has asked for an extension in the date of shipment so that they can import the entire 12 lt permitted earlier,” he said.

DN Pathak, Executive Director of SOPA, said the rise in soyabean prices is not in the hands of the soyabean processors and it is not because of anything done by the processing industry. SOPA has already flagged the issue of hoarding and undue speculation of soyabean futures. “The prices will cool down to reasonable levels if immediate action is taken on these issues,” he said.

‘Farmers can’t be forced’

Stating that farmers cannot be forced to sell soyabean at MSP as desired by the poultry industry, Pathak said the poultry industry demand for import of soyabean meal is because of lower prices of meal abroad.

“Soyabean is raw material for soya processing industry and meal prices are wholly dependent on soyabean prices. To help one industry, another linked industry should not be forced to close down. If soyabean meal is allowed to be imported just because soybean meal prices are higher than the imported meal prices, then the soyabean industry will have no market and there will be no outlet for soyabean also,” he said.

With Indian soyabean crop being higher by 15 per cent this year and 5-6 lt of soyabean meal already imported this year, there is no justification for import of soyabean meal, he added.

Published on November 29, 2021

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