Indian soymeal exporters eye big sales (26/9/2005)

Indian soymeal exporters eye big sales in October
By Hari Ramachandran

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's soymeal exports are expected to pick up after a slow start with countries like Japan showing keen interest in the meal because it is non-genetically modified, a leading exporter said on Monday.

India is a key soymeal exporter in the Asian region, traditionally selling to countries like South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

"One can estimate about 100,000 tonnes of soymeal sales booked from the new crop so far and in the first week of October bigger sales are on the anvil," Davish Jain, managing director of the Indore-based Prestige Group, told Reuters in an interview.

Jain said Japan was keen to pick up more Indian soymeal because of its natural purity.

"The volume of exports for Japanese markets could be doubled or trebled from this year's 250,000-300,000 tonnes if right efforts are made to meet their requirements."

"There is demand from Japan for non-GMO soymeal. India produces this kind of soymeal and does not allow GM seeds."

India normally contracts for more than 300,000 tonnes of meal sales by this time.

India grows non-GMO soybean as the country has allowed production of only transgenic cotton.

Several state-owned farm institutes, private seed companies and agriculture universities are conducting trials on genetically modified seeds like mustard, rice, potatoes, brinjals and tobacco. These seeds are in various stages of development.

The worth of biotech grains is debated worldwide, with advocates saying they could lead to a more secure future for food while critics say they could produce new toxins and allergens.


Exports this year have been slow with traders still assessing the volume of the soybean crop after delayed sowing because of the late onset of monsoon rains in June and a virtually dry August. The crop was saved because of late rains in September.

Total sales during the new year beginning November are expected to be close to this year's level of 2 million tonnes because of an increase in domestic consumption.

"Consumption of soymeal in the domestic market has been increasing because of good demand from the poultry industry."

Madhya Pradesh is the hub of the soybean trade. Maharashtra and Rajasthan also grow soybean.

India produces about 4.5 million tonnes of soymeal a year and exports around 2 to 2.5 million tonnes. The rest is consumed in the local market.

Jain said Southeast Asian and Far East countries would also be looking at India because of lower prices. Indian meal for Asian destinations was quoted around $250-$260 a tonne cost and freight compared with $280-300 at this time last year.

The Central Organisation for Oil Industry and Trade on Friday estimated the winter harvested soybean crop at 5.36 million tonnes, down from 5.85 million tonnes a year ago.

"The soybean crop has recovered from the initial setback of prolonged moisture stress but there is some loss in acreage in Madhya Pradesh which could be made up by additional area in Maharashtra and Rajasthan," Jain said.

He said first crop estimates pointed to a 10 percent loss in soybean output but the final numbers were still to come.

Jain said the loss in the new season would be made up to some extent by a carryover soybean stock of about 700,000 tonnes.

Go to a Print friendly Page

Email this Article to a Friend

Back to the Archive