Soybean meal exports rose over 55% in October from a month ago due to a drop in its price and a pickup in demand from the traditional Southeast Asian market, according to the Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA). The export of soybean meal and its other value-added products during October 2016 were just 19,139 tonne, compared with 42,104 tonne in October 2015, showing a decrease of 54.5% over the same period of last year.
The export of soybean meal in October stood at 19,139 tonne with Japan, Myanmar and Kenya remaining the leading buyers. A major portion of soybean meal from India used to go to east and Southeast Asian countries due to the proximity and advantage of booking small containers from India.
According to D N Pathak, executive director, SOPA, exports were expected to rise this season on account of higher production and comparatively lower prices of soybean. The price difference between Indian and international soybean meal has come down to $15 per tonne to $20 per tonne, compared with the earlier $40 per tonne, he said.
Industry experts said that soybean exports were sluggish for the past two years due to higher soybean meal prices in the international market. A likely higher production of soybean in the country this season will keep prices under pressure and make soybean meal competitive at the global market.
Soybean prices will witness a fall in the coming months due to the new season’s supplies from November, experts said. Soybean is crushed to obtain oil and meal for animal feed. Earlier, experts from the Solvent Extractors Association of India had already pegged soybean meal exports to cross around 1.5 million tonne (mt) to 2 mt. Soybean production is anticipated to be higher due to good monsoon rains in the soybean-producing region.
Soybean meal exports in October 2015 was only 42,104 tonnes. On a financial year basis, export during April-October 2016 was 94,871 tonne compared with 2,43,632 tonne in the same period of the previous year, showing a decrease of 61%.
Meanwhile, SOPA has increased estimates for the season after conducting an extensive post-harvest survey of the soybean crop, including discussions with farmers, traders and other stakeholders, and visits to mandis to estimate the soybean production in India during Kharif 2016. According to data gathered by SOPA, the area under soybean production has been revised to 109 lakh hectares as against last year’s area of 116 lakh hectares. The production estimate has been revised to 114 lakh tonne from the earlier estimate of 108.79 lakh tonnes.
The area under soybean production in Madhya Pradesh has marginally gone down to 54 lakh hectares from 59 lakh hectares last year. the production estimate has been revised to 57.16 lakh tonne as against earlier the estimates of 55.86 lakh tonnes. Last year, Madhya Pradesh produced some 34 lakh tonne. In Maharashtra, the area under production is now pegged at 35 lakh hectare, while it was 39 lakh hectares last year. In Rajasthan, production has been pegged at 9.49 lakh tonne on a sowing area of 9.8 lakh hectares. Last year, the production was 8 lakh tonne on a sowing area of 11 lakh hectares.