Indian Sub-continent – A key market for Evonik

Amino acid demand is increasing in the Indian sub-continent observes German chemical company. Think Grain Think Feed interviewed Mr. Vinod Paremal who recently took over the position of President & Managing Director for Evonik India and Dr. Saikat Saha, Business Director-Animal Nutrition India who is working with the company for the last 13 years. They shared insights how they cope-up with the supply chain disruptions, what do they foresee in the Asian market and more, read the interview excerpts.
In 2017, Evonik stated that it intends to assume a leading role in the field of sustainable and antibiotic-free livestock management. How long it has traveled since then?
Dr. Saikat Saha: Animal Nutrition Business Line of Evonik is very much committed to the cause of sustainable and antibiotic-free animal production & management. In fact, the pillars of our new innovative “system house” approach for safe animal production is comprising of Gut Health Products including Probiotics alongside our classical Amino Acids; digitalized knowledge and applied science as applied services, screening tools for preventive health monitoring, and digital animal farming concept under the umbrella of Evonik Porphyrio, which works as a process control centre to connect animal farming, nutrition, and health. Our unique probiotic concept for animal feeding has already gained a significant foothold in the area of antibiotic-free animal production.
Can you please share the supply-demand trends for amino acids in the Asia-Pacific market?
Dr. Saikat Saha: Global demand for amino acids, methionine in particular, has shown strong growth over the years. Asia-Pacific markets are one of the major contributors to this strong demand. In fact, in the years 2018-19, the Asia-Pacific region contributed over 40% of the global methionine demand. Animal Nutrition business line from Evonik is better suited to cater to this strong demand with our modern world-scale plant in Singapore.
Evonik’s new plant in Singapore inaugurated in June of 2019, was supposed to double its Methionine capacity in Asia – from 150,000 metric tonnes to about 300,000 metric tonnes, making up approximately 40 % of its 730,000 metric tonnes of global output. Though it says a lot about the growing Asian market, would you please throw some light on the Indian sub-continent market?
Dr. Saikat Saha: Indian sub-continent markets comprising of India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Pakistan, has shown tremendous growth in terms of amino acid demand in recent years. With the growing young population and continuous improvement in overall economic parameters in this part of the world despite some occasional challenges will ensure strong demand for animal protein in these markets; resulting ultimately to higher demand for feed, feed additives, and amino acids in particular. And as you rightly pointed out, word’s largest methionine complex in the vicinity will certainly help catering to the rising demand for these countries.
In November 2019, the supply issue forced the shutdown of Evonik’s methionine plants in Belgium and since early 2020, the global supply chain impacted by the pandemic. What has been its impact on the Asian market?
Dr. Saikat Saha: Most of our world-class methionine complexes are backwardly integrated; so, there is comparatively less impact from the fluctuation of raw material supply. Fortunately, so far, none of our plants in Europe, America or Asia has been affected by the pandemic. In fact, we ensured regular production at our Singapore plant, throughout the last few months of the pandemic, despite challenges. The pandemic of course slowed demand in certain markets including some Asian markets.
Evonik has its strength in Poultry. Can you update our readers about the USPs of the company in the Aqua segment? What opportunities do you foresee in the Indian aquaculture industry?
Dr. Saikat Saha: Evonik has its strong presence in different animal species production segments, including, Poultry, Swine, Aquaculture, and Dairy. Both in aquaculture and dairy, there is a need for specialized products. In the Indian sub-continent, we are active in the aquaculture segment through our unique dipeptide molecule of methionine specifically designed for shrimps, which is proving new innovative and sustainable ways to the shrimp feed millers to improve their protein quality and amino acid balance in the feed. In fact, our rumen-protected methionine for the dairy sector is also showing promising results to the dairy farmers.
In May 2020, Evonik entered into a collaboration with Perstorp for the exclusive distribution of the product in sub-Saharan Africa. Very recently, the sales and distribution of ProPhorce SR 130 have been expanded to the Indian subcontinent such as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Why this collaboration?
Dr. Saikat Saha: ProPhorce SR 130 further complements our gut health portfolio. Butyric acid derivatives complement the mode of action of our probiotics and show beneficial effects that can bring added value to customers when used together. This enables us to move further toward sustainable Gut Health Solutions for our animal nutrition customers.
Vinod Paremal, you recently took over the position of Regional President of Indian sub-continent, would you please share the strengths of Evonik Animal Nutrition and how do you see its penetration in coming years?
Vinod Paremal: Evonik’s Animal Nutrition Business Line has served customers in the Indian sub-continent for over two decades now with world-class products such as feed grade amino acids, probiotics, etc. Over the years, we have formed a strong bond with our customers in this region through our efforts not just by bringing superior quality products to our customers, consistently, but also by introducing cutting-edge technology in this field like NIRS for feed and raw material evaluation. Over the years, our NIR satellite lab in Mumbai has helped customers gain insight about the protein and amino acid quality of various Indian-origin feed raw materials as well as the complete feed. Once again, with the introduction of the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) in animal farming through our Porphyrio range, Evonik has yet again renewed its commitment towards sustainable & profitable animal production in this region.
Your message for the industry.
Vinod Paremal: In spite of significant challenges, the animal protein sector continues to grow at a sustainable pace in the Indian sub-continent. The advantageous cost position of home-grown feed raw materials coupled with early adoption of innovative technologies like Porphyrio, can enable the Indian animal protein sector to effectively compete globally. The growing consensus via consumer awareness regarding the hygiene and safety of animal proteins in the human food chain will eventually lead to a greater focus on the further processing of antibiotic-free animal proteins. Evonik is delighted to be an enabler for our valued innovative customers who are working towards achieving this goal.