The Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India has asked the government to allow the import of soyabean meal to help the domestic poultry industry.
In a letter to the members of SEA on Wednesday, Atul Chaturvedi, President of SEA of India, said the oilseed crushing and poultry sector have a symbiotic relationship and one cannot survive without the other.
Terming the rise in soyabean meal prices from around ₹36,000 a tonne in November to ₹71,000 a tonne in July as ‘crazy’, he said this is driving poultry farmers to the wall. “Whether this increase in values is due to speculative activity on the commodity exchanges or a reflection of demand-supply mismatch is only a matter of conjecture,” he said.
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To overcome this situation faced by the poultry industry and at the behest SEA members, the association has sent a memorandum to Piyush Goel, Union Minster of Commerce, and Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, suggesting they allow the import of soyabean meal, including GM soyabean meal variety, which is available in plenty in the world market at less than half price.
He said it does not pose a quarantine issue for a short period up to September 30to cool down the prices in the domestic market, and to support the poultry industry to survive through this crisis period.
On the edible oils front, he said the industry witnessed huge demand destruction during May and June. “Some even feel that in edible oils the consumption drop was as high as 30 per cent in these months,” he said, adding July has come with better tidings and demand seems to be coming back in the sector. He said all fears of structural damage to demand now are appearing premature.
Stating that the festival season is round the corner, he said the demand should continue to be robust along with prices. With almost 70 per cent dependence on the world for edible oils, the options with policy makers to counter edible oil inflationary pressure are limited. “We can only hope and pray that this wake-up call will shake up the policy makers, and the much talked about and long-delayed National Mission on Oilseeds would finally see the light of the day,” he said.
Normal monsoon expected
On the rainfall situation, he said predictions by weathermen during May were very encouraging and the industry is expecting another normal monsoon.
Stating that oilseed-growing central India seems to have suffered due to deficient rains, he said planting activity has suffered. However, now rains have arrived and should help in recovering lost ground. “One should not be surprised if our farmers are able to plant same or marginally higher acreage of oilseeds,” he said.
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Terming the government’s decision to allow free import of RBD palmolein and RBD palm oil a retrograde step, the SEA president mentioned in the letter that the industry was surprised and shocked by this decision.
After due consideration and to the support domestic vegetable oil-refining industry for better capacity utilisation, employment and value addition within the country, the government had placed the import of RBD palmolein and RBD palm oil under ‘restricted list’ from January 8, 2020. This decision had greatly helped the domestic edible oil refiners increase their capacity utilisation by processing larger quantity of crude palm oil, he said.
Unrestricted import of palmolien or refined palm oil may also open the flood gates for import of refined oils from Nepal, Bangladesh under SAFTA agreement at nil duty, he added.