Poultry industry seeks extension of deadline for import of soya cake, farmers protest move


At a time when domestic arrival of kharif soyabean crop has picked up, the poultry industry has written to the Centre, seeking extension of the deadline for importing de-oiled soya cake (DOC). In a letter to the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries, chairman of All India Poultry Breeders Association, Bahadur Ali, has said the extension is necessary to complete the import of total 12 lakh tonnes of DOC allowed by the government in view of the bullish trend in soyabean prices in domestic markets.

DOC is the protein-rich solid left after oil is extracted from soyabean. It is the basic raw material used in poultry feed.

In September, the government had, for the first time since independence, allowed the import of genetically-modified soyameal. This was in response to appeals by the poultry industry, which had complained of the exorbitant price of DOC. The industry was given time till January 31, 2022, to receive the imports, of which 6.5 lakh tonnes have already arrived.

Ali, in his letter, pointed out that the government’s intervention has resulted in price correction of DOC from Rs 100/kg to Rs 70/kg post September. The industry is hopeful that domestic crop prices would further cool down the prices to Rs 38-40/kg, with the expectation that seed would be trading at Rs 40-50/kg as against the government-declared MSP of Rs 39/kg. “However, last year, hoarders, stockists and speculators… exploited the market and the livestock industry with price speculation on NCDEX platform… by the way of forward trading and hoarders stocking the seeds for manipulating the markets…,” the letter read.

Ali said if the Centre does not intervene, there may be consequences. The Association has sought steps such as extending the deadline of imports till March 31, 2022, ban on trade in soyabean on commodity exchanges and strict action against hoarders.

This comes even as farmers have started offloading their produce of soyabean. The Soyabean Processors Association of India has estimated the domestic production to be at 118.89 lakh tonnes. This, a Madhya Pradesh-based processor said, was more than enough to meet the domestic demand of DOC.

Meanwhile, farmers in Maharashtra and MP have protested against any move to extend the import window. Farmer leader Raju Shetti said this move by the poultry industry was a smokescreen by major corporate houses that wish to pressure the government for imports.

“At a time when the government is talking about being Atmanirbhar, why is it allowing imports at the cost of domestic producers,” he asked.


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