Open Letter to Minister of Agriculture & Farmer’s Welfare

Old opened an envelope with an attached piece of paper

By Dr. Chandan Prasad, Cargill Animal Nutrition


Shri Narendra Singh Tomar

Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture&Farmer’s Welfare


Sub: –    “Request for framing policy on producing quality DDGS”


In last few years, Indian livestock sector has been witnessing a bumpy ride, withskyrocketedprices of raw material like maize and soya. This has put negative pressure on the margins of this industry, that contributes more than 4% of national GDP. Several geo-political issues take the centre stage, that bring these dramatic shifts. At one side, political conflict in eastern Europe created vacuum of feed ingredients globally, inflation was put on fifth gear by OPEC decision to cutdowncrude oil production on the other side.We would like to make it clear that objective behind this letter is not to propose for any kind of discount or subsidies. In fact,we perceive this difficult situation as an opportunity to introspect our practices and find out scope for improvement in our operational efficiencies and bring down losses. This introspection had showed us a way forward. Originated as a co-opportunity with one of the Govt’s most ambitious project of alternate fuel, this has potential to ensure better sustainability in livestock farming and generating export income as well.We would like to bring your kind attention towards this opportunity only.

Energy needs of our nationshare a proportional rhythm with economic growth. From 4.2 trillion INR in FY-2011, we have increased our crude oil imports to estimated 12 trillion INR in FY-2023.No need to state that India has turned towards alternate energy sources to reduce this energy bill. This is evident with our growth in field of solarenergy, bioethanol and ongoing multiple projects of nuclear reactors. Among these, bioethanol is directly related to farmers and is proven asa game changer to fulfil Government’s vision to improve their income. But bioethanol project is having much larger potential. Current ethanol production capacity of India is approximately 684 crore litre that will be increased to 1500 crore litres by 2025(Roadmapfor Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25, by NitiAyog, June 2021). Of the current production, 37%, i.e.,258 cr. litresare derived from grain-based distilleries and rest from molasses-based units. As per planning, grain-based production will be enhanced by 186% to 740 crore litres by 2025. Flip side ofthis will be a proportionate production burst of ethanol by-product i.e., Distiller’s Grain. By default, distiller’s grain is produced in wet form, which can be dried to produce DDGS (Dried Distillers Grain with Soluble). DDGS is a good source of energy and protein and a good feed ingredient for livestock. If we try to estimate DDGS production potential according to production data, current capacity is 2.06 million tons, that will be increased to 5.92 million tons by 2025. For making it easy to understand, we can translate these figures in term of animal feed.

Current poultry feed production of India is approximately 26 million tons, which will grow to about 32 million tons by 2025. It means that DDGS alone can contribute 18 of poultry feed. Unlike many other livestock feed ingredients, DDGS can’t be used for human consumption, therefore, we can expect its price to remain stable for long. These are reasons, why many Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Philippineshas given significant importance to DDGS in their livestock feed. Unfortunately, similar momentum is not yet seen among Indian feed manufacturers. And the question is “WHY”?

One can easily find answer to this question by looking at mycotoxin (fungal toxins) report published by various organizations. More than 90% of DDGS samples analysed were found to be carrying significant levels of various mycotoxins. Due to absence of any Govt. directives, either distiller’s grain is sold in wet form and being dried under sun, without following any scientific methods. Such high level of toxins in DDGS creates hazards for both animals and the ultimate human consumers. Added to this, such practices stealits potential to become a major contributor in animal feed. And this is contrasting difference between DDGS available in India with that of SE Asian countries. Most of the SE Asian countries source DDGS from Napa Valley, USA. Ethanol producers in Napa Valley hadalready adopted scientific methods to channelise their by-products to be with quality only. And now it is a source of their secondary income. In fact, they have regarded DDGS as a Co-product of ethanol, rather than as by-product.

Several private sector organizations had already started working on to determine scope and efficient production methods after DDGS inclusion in feed. Such initiation will start resonating with policy back-up from Govt. As a responsible industry member, we would also like to suggest majorpoints to be included in such policy:

  1. Subsidizing drying equipment of distiller’s grain
  2. Or otherwise,tax rebate on ethanol for producing quality DDGS
  3. Production guidelines to be circulated among ethanol producers
  4. Test and analysis facility to promote trade and exports of DDGS

India is a home to world second largest population and so quality feeding to this large number is always a challenge. A major chunk of people with average annual income of less than $2000 cannot afford costly food. In such scenario, DDGS (if produced with quality) offers a great opportunity. Not only this can reduce our dependency on costly ingredients like Soya, but also add up to our national exports, like that of Napa Valley producers.

This is our kind request to you for designing and implementing national policy on DDGS to safeguardsustainable future of livestock nutrition and ensure food security, while adding up to climate conservation.

Looking forward to serve nation and society.

Thanks and regards,

Dr. Chandan Prasad

Cargill Animal Nutrition, India

(Views presented by author are his own)