The Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) opposed the poultry industry’s request to extend the period for importing GM soyameal to March 31.
SOPA Chairman Davish Jain stated in a letter to the Union Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fishing that the soyameal supply situation is comfortable and that fundamentals do not support the need for additional imports by extending the date of shipments. Soyameal prices are currently reasonable when compared to soyabean prices and farmer expectations.
Demand and supply
In terms of soyabean and soyameal supply and demand projections for 2021-22, he stated that the total supply of soyabean for 2021-22 is 123.72 lakh tonnes (lt). After accounting for 92 lt for crushing, 12 lt for sowing, 3 lt for direct consumption, and 0.50 lt for exports, there will be a carry-forward stock of 16.22 lt for the following year.
In the case of soyameal, there is 79.84 lt available for 2021-22. After accounting for 58 lt for poultry and aqua feeds, 12 lt for exports, and 8 lt for food usage, there will be a carry-forward stock of 1.84 lt for the following year.
He stated that any comparison with soyabean prices in Argentina and Brazil is completely unjustified, as soyabean prices in those countries are currently ruling at $460 FOB or ₹34,500 per tonne, while the MSP in India is ₹39,500 per tonne. ‘The farmer is absolutely unwilling to sell soyabean at MSP because his production costs have risen significantly and the MSP is no longer remunerative,’ he explained.
He stated that the sharp rise in prices earlier this year was the result of unhealthy speculation by traders, and that SOPA is taking the matter up separately with the Department of Consumer Affairs to closely watching over the speculative activity and unreasonable price rise in soyabean. ‘Given the comfortable demand and supply situation, we expect prices to remain stable,’ he said.
‘Of the 12 lt permit, approximately 5-6 lt of soyabean meal were imported between September and November this year, allowing the poultry industry to weather the difficult period,’ Jain said. ‘We understand that the poultry industry has asked for a shipment date extension so that they can import the entire 12 lt permitted earlier,’ he said.
According to DN Pathak, Executive Director of SOPA, the rise in soyabean prices is not in the hands of soyabean processors and is not the result of anything the processing industry has done. SOPA has already raised the issue of soyabean futures hoarding and excessive speculation. ‘If immediate action is taken on these issues, prices will cool down to reasonable levels,’ he said.
Farmers cannot be compelled
Pathak stated that farmers cannot be forced to sell soyabean at MSP as desired by the poultry industry, and that the poultry industry’s demand for soyabean meal imports is due to lower meal prices abroad.
‘Soyabean is a raw material used in the soya processing industry, and meal prices are entirely determined by soyabean prices. One industry should not be forced to close in order to help another. If soyabean meal is allowed to be imported solely because soybean meal prices are much higher than imported meal prices, the soyabean industry will have no market and no outlet for soyabean,’ he said.
With the Indian soyabean crop increasing by 15% this year and 5-6 lt of soyabean meal already imported this year, there is no justification for soyabean meal imports, he added.