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Demand keeps soyameal exports buoyant

M.R. Subramani

Shipments to Far-East, S-E Asia likely to continue even in June


Growing market share
Since the start of the oil year, at least 27 lt of soyameal have been exported.
Demand mainly from South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, China &Taiwan.
Soyameal is currently being quoted at $197

Chennai , April 25

Soyameal exports from the country are expected to continue even in June on good demand from South-East and Far-East Asian countries. This is despite a bit of sluggishness creeping in the trade and soyabean prices rising in view of low arrivals.

"At least four lakh tonnes of soyameal are likely to be exported during April and May. In April itself, exports are likely to be around 2.5 lakh tonnes," said Mr Rajesh Agrawal, Chairman, Soyabean Processors' Association of India.

SLUGHISHNESS

The sluggishness is in view of problems such as shipping and nominating agencies. "But overall, there is good demand," he said.

Since the beginning of the oil year in November, at least 27 lt of soyameal have been exported from the country. This is against less than 15 lt during the same period a year ago.

Oilmeal exports from the country increased by 64 per cent during the last fiscal to 44.23 lt, with buoyant soyameal exports being one of the reason. It made up 34.24 lakh tonnes of the total shipments.

"Demand has come in mainly from South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, China, Taiwan and other countries around that region," Mr Agrawal said. "Japan has been a key buyer this year," he said.

One reason for Japan to opt for Indian soyameal is because it is seen as one totally free from genetically modified organisms.

"In fact, all oilmeals are in good demand from India. This is following measures taken by the industry through the Solvent Extractors' Association of India (SEA)," said Mr B.V. Mehta, Executive Director of the solvent extractors body.

"Soyameal exports have been a revelation of late," he said.

Currently, soyameal is quoted at Rs 8,900-9,000 a tonne free-on-rails or $197 free-alongside-ship.

Chinese demand

With fears of bird flu receding, demand is emanating from countries such as China. In fact, during October-January, China was one of the major buyers. Since then, it has slowed down a bit.

"China has begun buying more of Indian soyameal mainly on account of initiatives taken by SEA. We have talked to them and gained their confidence," Mr Mehta said.

Oilmeals, especially soyameal, is used as one of the ingredients in compound feed. Soyameal makes up nearly 30 per cent of compound feed, which is used in feeding poultry birds.

On the other hand, soyabean arrivals in Madhya Pradesh, the country's soyabean hub, and Maharashtra have become tight. "In Madhya Pradesh, around 50,000 bags are arriving daily which has resulted in prices going up," Mr Agrawal said.

On Tuesday, soyabean was quoted at Rs 1,250-60 a quintal up from Rs 1,130-35 at the beginning of the month.

Besides the Far-East and South-East Asian nations, there is also a huge demand from Pakistan. "But we are unable to meet it in view of lack of railway wagons," Mr Agrawal said.

The other option is to send the consignments by road but India and Pakistan are yet to come to an agreement on this.

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