Anticipating a good crop this season, a six-member delegation of the industry body, Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA), will be touring five countries next week to promote Indian soybean meal exports.
High prices in the domestic market has thrown Indian oilmeal almost out of the international market. During the April-August 2016 period, India’s soybean meal exports recorded a 62% decline to 63,522 tonne from 168,054 tonne in the same period last year.
The delegation headed by chairman Davish Jain and accompanied by executive director DN Pathak will be visiting Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia between September 18 and September 29 to promote Indian soya.
“We hope a good crop this year although we are not giving out numbers yet. With a bumper crop in the offing and a domestic consumption of some 4.5 million tonne, a huge quantity of soybean meal will be left with farmers. Since this is an industrial crop, nobody can eat it and therefore export markets need to be found,” Pathak said.
The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India has estimated India’s 2016-17 soybean production to be around 10 million tonne, up from 7.5 million tonne in 2015-16. Soybean prices in India jumped due to lower production, making local soymeal expensive compared to supplies from South America, dealers had said.
The initiative of the industry is being supported by the Union ministry of commerce that has written to the respective Indian embassies in these countries to assist the delegation with the visit and meet prospective buyers, Pathak said. Some 16 appointments and meetings have been fixed for the delegation with prospective buyers where the delegation will be making detailed presentations to the buyers abroad, he said.
According to Pathak, 2012-13 has been India’s best year yet for exports. “India exported 4 lakh tonne to Indonesia in 2010-11 which dropped to 2.5 lakh tonne in 2011-12 and 2 lakh tonne in 2012-13. The country exported 13.26 lakh tonne to Japan in 2010-11, 986,000 tonne in 2011-12 and 548,000 tonne in 2012-13. To Thailand, India exported 3.35 lakh tonne in 2012-13, 3 lakh tonne in 2012-13 and 1.5 lakh tonne in 2013-14. To Vietnam, the country exported 8.32 lakh tonne in 201-11, 6.19 lakh tonne in 2011-12, 2.39 lakh tonne in 2012-13 and export numbers fell subsequently,” he said.
At present, Indian prices are $100-160 per tonne in importing countries such as Vietnam, Japan, etc compared to sourcing the same from Brazil and Argentina, which are among the top soybean producers in the world. Domestic prices are currently at R3,300 per tonne and prices may drop down due to a good crop after which Indian soybean meal could become attractive for the export market, he said.
India has been a major exporter of soybean meal to the Far East and southeast Asia. However, during the past couple of years, our exports have fallen drastically due to disparity in prices. This year, the crop looks very good and there is every possibility that we can re-enter these markets with competitive prices, the ministry’s letter to the embassies stated.
Soybean crushing has been lower due to a sharp decline in output. Data compiled by SOPA estimate India’s soybean output at 7.54 million tonne in crop year 2015-16 compared to 10.37 million tonne in 2014-15, thus witnessing a decline of 27%.
The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India has said that there is scope for the export of at least 1.5 million tonne of soybean meal this season.
As per data received from the Directorate of Oilseeds Development, Hyderabad, the sowing of soybean in Madhya Pradesh stood at 52.720 lakh hectare, in Maharashtra at 39.366 lakh hectares and Rajasthan at 10.118 lakh hectare as on September 1.