Soybean meal prices doubled; govt should permit import at zero duty: AIPBA


Expressing concern over rise in animal feed prices in the domestic market, the All India Poultry Breeders Association (AIPBA) on Sunday demanded the government to reduce import duty on soybean meal to zero for at least five months.

Soybean meal remains the most common protein source for all compound feeds for poultry, dairy cattle and pigs in the country and worldwide.

In a letter to Union Minister for Animal Husbandry, Livestock, Dairying and Fisheries Giriraj Singh, AIPBA Chairman Bahadur Ali said, “There is an acute shortage of soybean in the supply line, leading to massive price escalation. The only option is now to ensure import to cool down the prices to save livestock farmers.”

Domestic prices of soybean, from which soybean meal is made, have doubled in a year to Rs 81,000 per tonne from Rs 36,420 per tonne. But, in the global market, prices of soybean and soybean meal are half the Indian rates, he said.

This price rise is “unsustainable” and is killing small farmers due to reduced demand and high risk. Most of the farmers sare not placing new chicks in the farmers, he added.

Seeking urgent government intervention, the AIPBA chairman demanded reduction in import duty on soybean to zero for five months till harvesting starts in India. This will have no impact on farmers’ prices because world market prices are not less than the minimum support price.

The association also demanded the Centre to ensure key soybean-growing states to issue orders for checking hoarding of soybean and make all warehouse owners to declare stocks with available them. Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan are major soybean-growing states that produce 98 per cent of soybean in India.

The government should curb speculation in the futures market by increasing the margin money on soybean futures by 30 per cent, it said.

That apart, the government should minimise trade distortion and its impact on farmers by allowing only GST-registered feed mills to import the soymeal under specified conditions, it said in the letter.

“Unless quick decisions are not taken in this regard, the livestock sectors and livestock farmers will suffer another massive financial loss, soon after huge losses suffered during the first wave of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns,” the association noted.