Processors extract as much as 18 kg of oil from 100 kg (quintal) of soyabean. The protein-rich mass and other solid matter left after extraction is used in the animal feed industry and is popularly known as DOC or soyameal.
The Soyabean Processors Association of India (SOPA) seeks to urge the government to stop the import of genetically modified (GM) de-oiled cake (DOC) into the country. The DOC is imported only to be exported to Iran, but the import of GM crops and products is not allowed in India.
Naresh Goenka, vice chairman of SOPA, said at least 2 lakh tonnes of GM oilcake might have landed in the country in the last few weeks.
DOC is an exportable commodity that earns the processors foreign exchange. Indian soyameal, due to its non-GM nature, has a niche market worldwide. Last year, the country had recorded export of 20 lakh tonnes of DOC.
India has reported a bumper soyabean with the country producing 114.83 lakh tonnes of the oilseed in 2018-19. The production figure for the previous year stood at 83.5 lakh tonnes. For the current oil year, SOPA data shows that 45.36 lakh tonnes of the meal was produced, which last year was 40.50 lakh tonnes. Till March 2019, 15.266 lakh tonnes of DOC was exported while 10.44 lakh tonnes was the export figure by the end of March 2018.
Goenka said inquiries have showed that the 15 lakh tonnes of exports also include at least 2-3 lakh tonnes of DOC, which was imported in India only to be exported to Iran. “The imported product had origins in GM crops and such products are not allowed in the country,” he said.
SOPA, Goenka said, has decided to engage with the government to stop the import of such DOC. Most of the arrivals have happened at Kandla port.
Meanwhile, soyabean prices continue to be bullish in major wholesale markets in Maharashtra. At the Latur market, the average traded price of the oilmeal was at least INR 3,710-3,800 per quintal over the past few weeks. Most farmers, Goenka said, are still holding on to their produce as drought had diminished the chances of a rabi crop.
“Around 40-50 lakh tonnes of the oilseed still remains with farmers and small stockists,” he said. Over the next few months, Goenka foresaw the price of soyabean remaining in the same range with around INR 50-100 downward correction. “Around 2-3 lakh tonnes of DOC might still be exported in the next few months,” he said.