03 December 2021, Indore: With Soybean prices rising in the country, the Indian poultry industry has asked for import of GM Soybean meal including extension of remaining quantity already permitted 12 lakh tons earlier this year. SOPA (Soybean Processors Association of India) safeguarding the interest of its members is strongly opposing the import of GM Soybean meal.
The association said that there is very comfortable demand and supply situation for soybean meal in the country. There is no need to import. The current Soybean meal consumption figures given by the poultry industry are highly inflated. We have never imported soybean meal in the past and have been meeting the entire demand locally. Even in the years when the soybean crop was low, imports were not required.
The poultry industry has projected a demand of 70 lakh tons in October this year which they have suddenly revised to 90 lakh tons without any basis or facts and figures. Rise in soybean prices is not in the hands of soybean processors and it is not because of anything done by the processing industry. SOPA has already flagged the issue of hoarding and undue speculation of soybean futures. If immediate action is taken on these issues, we hope the prices will cool down to reasonable levels.
The association said that farmers cannot be forced to sell soybean at MSP as desired by the poultry industry. Soybean farmers have as much right to livelihood and get remunerative prices as poultry farmers. In any case, most of the poultry industry is in the hands of big corporates and farmers are only a marginal player in the whole scheme of things.
The poultry industry’s demand for import of soybean meal is because of lower prices of meal abroad. Soybean is raw material for soy processing industry and meal prices are wholly dependent on soybean prices. To help one industry, another linked industry cannot be forced to close down. If soybean meal is allowed to be imported just because soybean meal prices are higher than imported meal prices, soybean industry will have no market and there will be no outlet for soybean also.
When comparing imported soybean meal prices with Indian soybean meal prices, we must also take into account the imported soybean prices versus Indian soybean prices. Imported Soybean price of GM origin is US$ 500/- FOB. Imported Soybean meal of GM origin price is US$ 385 FOB. Non-GM Soybean Price in India is Rs. 67,000/- (US$ 900). Where as the price for non-GM Soybean meal Price in India is Rs. 60,000/- (US$ 800).
The soybean crop this year has been very good and is estimated to be 127.20 lakh tons as per the first advance estimates released by the government. The current prices of Soybean meal are reasonable and in-line with soybean prices and farmers expectations. Comparison with Soybean meal prices in GM Argentina/Brazil is totally unjustified as the Soybean prices in those countries are currently ruling at USD 500 FOB or Rs. 37,500/- per ton while our MSP itself is Rs. 39500/- per ton and the farmer is absolutely not willing to sell Soybean at MSP because his cost of production has gone up substantially and the MSP is no more remunerative.