Commodities

Two-day international soya conclave kicks off in Indore to make India self-reliant in edible oils

Our Correspondent Indore | Updated on October 09, 2019 Published on October 09, 2019

SOPA seeks raise in import duty; curb on illegal import of edible oils through SAARC nations

The third International Soy Conclave of the Soybean Processors Association of India was held here today with a collective resolve to make India self-reliant in edible oils. The theme of this year's conclave is: Profit Plus 2019: Realise, Observe and Innovate.

Talking about the issues to be discussed and raised during the course of the soya conclave, Davish Jain, chairman, Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) said, this year incessant rains have inflicted huge damage to the soyabean crop and this is likely to have a major bearing on the soyabean production in the country this year.

Given the rise in soyabean production at the global level, the experts gave their views on how to get the country out of this crisis and what needs to be done for the Indian soya entrepreneurs to stand competitive in the international market, so that 135 billion people get access to adequate edible oils within the country. Jain said, in order to meet the requirement of 135 billion people, India needs a domestic oil seeds production of 80 million tonnes; currently, we are way behind this target. As a result, every year, the country has to import edible oils worth Rs 75,000 crore, Jain said, adding that the SOPA for the past several years has been trying hard to increase soyabean yield in the country, so that farmers get better price for their crop. He said the falling income has become a major concern for soya meal exporters and soyabean processors. Compared to 2011-12, the average price of soyabean in the country has increased by Rs 1000 per quintal, but there has been no proportionate rise in the retail price of soya oil.

Pricing, an issue

The main crisis before the soya meal exporters of the country is a rise in soyabean production and a decline in its prices at the global level. But in India, the situation is completely different. As a result of this, the soya meal exporters from India are not in a position to match up with the international market.

The SOPA chairman said the soyabean farmers must get proper price for their crop. Hiking minimum support prices to raise the income of farmers is merely a shortcut measure. SOPA had proposed a Price Differentiation scheme (Bhavantar yojna) before the government; its implementation could have been a good initiative to raise farmers’ income. He said the SOPA has requested the Centre to essentially implement this at the national level so that the difference in price would directly be credited into the bank accounts of the farmers. Similarly, he said the government should allow soyabean farmers to sell their crop directly to the processors. This will help them do away with the middlemen; benefiting both the soya farmers and the processors.

He said during the conclave, the SOPA, through this platform, would urge the government to raise import duty on edible oils from 35 per cent to 45 per cent, which according to him, will help domestic soya meal exporters remain competitive in the global market.

Non-GMO soyabean

Talking about non-GMO soyabean, Jain said, given the kind of monopoly India enjoys in production of non-GMO soyabean, the government should essentially promote non-GMO soyabean across the world as an exclusive Indian brand. The startups should also come forward to make value-added products from non-GMO soyabean, which will help curb malnutrition in the country because of its high protein content. In addition to this, the government should also promote human food products made from non-GMO soyabean as an Indian brand.

He also urged the Centre to provide subsidy to the exporters for transporting soyabean to the ports through the Railways. This will help domestic soyabean remain in the global market at competitive prices. He said the SOPA has taken serious note of the illegal import of edible oils from Malaysia, Argentina and other countries to India through SAARC nations, especially from Nepal and Bangladesh and has, accordingly, urged the government to put a curb on illegal imports of edible oils to India through Nepal and Bangladesh.

Published on October 09, 2019
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