India's overall oilmeal exports during April 2024 were 6 per cent lower on a yearly basis at 4.65 lakh tonnes. During the same month last year, the total exports were 4.93 lakh tonnes, industry data showed. In break up, exports of soybean meal rose while that of mustard meal declined. Oilmeals are the residue left over after the extraction of oil from oilseeds and it is widely utilized as livestock feed globally.

According to the Solvent Extractors' Association of India, which has put out the trade data, said the country harvested a record crop of soybean in Kharif season last year and mustard in Rabi season which encouraged higher crushing and increased availability of meals, both for the domestic consumption and exports.

The total oilmeal exports during November-April, the first six months of the marketing year, indicated the revival of soybean meal exports which jumped from 10.4 lakh tonnes to 16.6 lakh metric tons.

While rapeseed meal exports are down by nearly 23 per cent so far this season at 9.3 lakh tonnes. The industry body said last year the exports were higher as India could export substantial quantity due to price advantage vis-a-vis other supplying countries.

During April 2024, South Korea imported 109,744 tons of oilmeals (compared to 86,231 tons last April). Vietnam imported 18,365 tons of oilmeals (compared to 100,860 tons); Thailand imported 40,582 tons of oilmeals (compared to 68,519 tons); Bangladesh sourced rapeseed meal and soybean meal from India at 82,878 tons (compared to 107,408 tons).

Iran has turned out to be largest importer of Soybean meal from India (including shipment via Dubai) at 81,240 tons.Much of the decline in overall exports in April could be attributed to the prohibition of exports of de-oiled rice bran. India usually export about 5 to 6 lakh tons of deoiled ricebran, mainly to Vietnam, Thailand, and other Asian countries, positioning itself as a reliable supplier in international market.

The government prohibited the export of de-oiled ricebran on July 28 last year attributing it to the high domestic fodder prices, with de-oiled ricebran being a major component, till March 31, 2024 and later extended up to July 31, 2024.

"The De-oiled Ricebran prices now are at the lower level and likely to go down further with increased availability of DDGS (Distiller's Dried Grains with Soluble)," said the industry body. In view of a what it said a sharp fall in prices of De-oiled Ricebran, it appealed to the government not to extend the prohibition beyond July. Notably, India is the world's second-largest consumer and leading vegetable oil importer, and meets 60 per cent of its needs through imports, primarily from Indonesia and Malaysia. While oilseed production in India has witnessed growth over the years, it has not kept pace with consumption, leading to a continued reliance on imports.