New Delhi: India, which could harvest a record soybean crop of 8.5 million tonnes in 2007/08, is targetting exports of high-protein soymeal to add value and realise better prices, a trade official said on Wednesday (8 August).
“We are now looking at stepping up exports of soymeal with 50% or more protein, which commands a premium of $20-25 per tonne over normal meal,” Rajesh Agrawal, co-ordinator of the Soybean Processors’ Association of India, said.
“The potential is very, very high, and buyers are available,” Agrawal said in a telephone interview.
Poultry feed makers in countries like Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand were demanding the high-protein feed, which contains less fibre and foreign matter and boosts productivity, he said. Normal Indian exports contain 46% protein.
“The quality that we supply is not an issue, but buyers want regularity in supplies,” said Agrawal. “Right now some plants in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are making it but this will grow.”
Agrawal said currently India was exporting about 200,000 tonnes of high-protein meal -- out of total sales of 3.7 million tonnes this year -- and this was expected to grow by 20% annually.
He said high-protein sales could make up 50% of all exports.
Indian meal is not genetically modified, and the country enjoys a distinct freight advantage over supplies from South America and the US, Agrawal said.
He expects total soymeal exports in the new season beginning in November to be a minimum of 4.0 million tonnes and the soybean crop to cross 8.5 million tonnes, up from 7.6 million tonnes this year.
“It could be even much higher if the crop condition stays good and rains are on time,” Agrawal said. “Demand is high and we will be competitive in prices.”
Agrawal said exporters had finalised deals to export 60,000 tonnes of soymeal from the new crop at a premium of $15 over Chicago prices for shipments in November and December.
He said the normal variety soymeal was fetching around $278 per tonne in the export market.
(Additional Reporting by Abhishek Shanker)