News: Asia Subcontinent
Every year, USSEC India attends the “All India Seminar on Oil Seeds, Oil Trade and Industry” to connect to the oil industry and get updated on tech and trade issues. The national event is organized by the Central Organization for Oil Industry and Trade (COIT) in New Delhi and about 500 participants representing the oil industry, trade, brokers, academics, nutritionists, doctors and other connected stakeholders from throughout the country attend. The seminar was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Delhi in the presence of the Minister for Agriculture and Food Processing, and a wide audience from the Indian government and authorities representing the oil trade and industry were also present.
There were important deliberations on palm, mustard, soy, olive, rice bran and other edible oils. Nine types of oil seeds are produced in India.
Over the past few consecutive years, there has been a decline in the annual production of Indian oil seeds. Domestic oil seed crushing units are operating at just 40 to 45 percent of installed capacity because of the country’s reduced supply of oil seeds. The total production of oilseeds as per the government’s estimate for 2014-15 dropped to 26.68 million tons from 32.7 million tons the previous year and was spread over an area of 25.1 million hectares, giving an average yield of 940 kilograms per hectare.
India is a major importer of vegetable oils, which are one of the top five imports after commodities such as crude oil and gold. Almost 74 percent of the 21 million tons of vegetable oil used in the country is imported. The chief imports are palm (9.5 million tons), soy (4.2 million tons), sunflower (1.5 million tons) and canola (0.3 million tons). Consumption is estimated at 20.8 million tons. India’s imports have soared by more than 50 percent in the last five years. Palm oil tonnage has increased by only 25 percent during these five years.
There is a significant uptrend with soy oil imports. Because of the narrowing price gap between palm and soy oil, experts in the trade predict that soy oil will be indispensable in 2016, providing opportunity for U.S. soy oil in India.
Taking the advantage of this event, USSEC Director-India Food Program Ratan Sharma created interest about the benefits of soy oil and its potential in India with the trade and oil utilization bodies. Dr. Sharma indicated that the price difference between soy and palm oil could narrow in the coming months, allowing those who consume the latter to shift to soy, which is a higher quality cooking medium. The spread could narrow because palm production is lower than that of soy this year. If oil prices fall, soy will decline more sharply than palm, and if they rise, palm will outstrip soy’s rise. USSEC India plans to look at soy oil opportunities more closely and build some strategies to utilize this trend.
India boasts several different geographic terrains, with the northern region experiencing lower temperatures during winters. Naturally, India has some fish species that live and grow in cold waters. Trout is found in these regions and its farming is becoming popular. Trout is a cold water, hill stream fish that needs high energy and high protein diets to meet its feeding habits and its fast swimming habit.
USSEC – ASC conducted a one-day aquafeed education session for about 75 aqua farmers, government officials and other stakeholders connected with the trout industry. The USSEC team was in India’s Northern Province for an internal meeting and took advantage of the time to work with the University of Palampur and the Department of Fisheries in the region to conduct this session.
The workshop’s objective was to explore new markets to position soy-based aqua feeds and help improve capacity utilization of Indian feedmills. Trout farmers in the region lack an understanding of advanced feed formulations and milling technology, and so this session helped them grasp the intricacies involved in feed manufacture. For some industry professionals, extension workers, environmentalists and scientists, the session helped reflect important aspects connected to feed formulation and best farming practices. It was important that the professionals re-visit talking points on modern feeds and farming methods so they in turn can disseminate USSEC’s recommendations to a wider industry audience. Other discussions covered aspects of fish nutrition and creating trade linkages with modern feed mills, which displayed their feeds and supported the participants with information on supply and logistics.
USSEC coordinated meetings and field visits in Sri Lanka for USSEC exporter class member International Feed. Soybean meal is a major commodity for International Feed, which trades animal feed ingredients from Minneapolis to Sri Lanka. International Feed commodity trader Derek Michalski and commodity merchandiser Greg Gohmann visited Colombo, Sri Lanka to meet with existing clients in order to maintain business relationships and better understand recent market changes. They also met with potential clients in Sri Lanka. Yadu Nandan, USSECs Animal Feed Consultant, and Athula Mahagamage, USSEC Country Consultant – Sri Lanka, assisted the International Feed team.
Before travelling to Sri Lanka, International Feed participated in VIV-MEA 2016 in Abu Dhabi, where they met with several Sri Lankan customers, while the rest of their meetings took place in Colombo. The director of Sri Lanka’s Crysbro Group met with Mr. Michalski and Mr. Gohmann in Abu Dhabi to discuss soybean meal import and securing other raw material for their new feed mill, which is expected to be operational soon. The mill has a capacity of 72,000 tons/year.
In Sri Lanka, the team met with the Pussala Group, whose soybean meal requirement is 1000-1200 tons/month. Pussala is currently using U.S soybean meal but this meeting helped them obtain more knowledge and expand their trade linkages with International Feed. They also met with the general manager of another major feed miller, Gold Coin Feeds, where they discussed issues of meal quality and logistics. At the Gold Coin feed mill, the team physically examined the quality of soybean meal. Gold Coin Feeds imports about 3000 tons of U.S soybean meal every month. Next up was Ceylon Grain Elevators, Ltd. (CGEL), which is a loyal customer of U.S soybean meal. The team met with a nutritionist and the assistant general manager of purchasing, who both expressed satisfaction with using U.S soybean meal.
USSEC Deputy Regional Director – Asia Subcontinent (ASC) Vijay Anand says there is growing interest by the U.S Soy industry in the ASC region because of its rapid positive market changes. Once a market hub with self–sufficiency for soybean meal, the ASC is now steadily seeking an alternate, sustainable supply of soybean meal for its growing animal feed businesses. Total soybean meal imports into Sri Lanka were 175 thousand metric tons (TMT) in 2014/15 of which U.S Soy accounted for a 57 percent share. In the first quarter of the current marketing year, the country has already imported 39,252 metric tons (MT) of U.S soybean meal, which is 39 percent of last year’s total imported U.S Soy.
About USSEC exporter member International Feed: International Feed was founded in 1999 with the vision to trade and export quality animal feed ingredients in ocean containers to customers around the world. Today, International Feed is a thriving trading and full service logistics company operating in the bio-fuel and agricultural feed ingredient export industry. Their products include grains, oilseeds and their co-products, as well as a host of specialty commodities. The company works with processing facilities, grain elevators, and farmers directly to source the highest quality feed ingredients for customers. Their logistics and execution teams are experts in the handling and loading of commodities, preparing export documentation, and efficiently managing cargo movement. International Feed’s headquarters is in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. They also own and operate subsidiary companies that complement our vision to offer a full service supply-chain solution for customers. These include own in-house freight forwarder, a chain of trans load operations, and own Transportation Services Company, creating a “one stop” solution for international buyers looking to satisfy their agricultural import needs.
A resource document for the Asian Subcontinent is now available on the USSEC website.
The presentation is a market analysis and provides some forecasts for the Asian Subcontinent. Some points of interest include an overview of the region; protein/energy demand; drivers for growth; consumption trends; soybean meal usage and potential; and USSEC’s strategy to work on developing new feed businesses in India.
To view and download the document, please click here.
USSEC India recently participated in Aahar, which is the largest food show in South Asia. USSEC partnered with USDA and some selected soy food industries to put up two booths, one of which was called the “Soy Pavilion.” Five soy food companies participated in this food show under USSEC’s flagship and displayed their soy products and distributed samples to public audiences.
USSEC took this opportunity to highlight U.S food beans and soy oil on this platform and received queries for these products. The food expo was visited by a number of people from various food processing sectors, food importers, traders, ingredient suppliers, government officers and policy makers, food processing machinery manufacturers and others in the food value chain. “Soy Messages” were disseminated though various publications that covered subjects on soy health benefits, soy food products, U.S food specialty beans, soy oil, etc. The Soy Pavilion generated great interest among visitors.
The Deputy Chief of U.S Embassy – Michael P. Pelletier, along with the Minister Counsellor of Agriculture Affairs Scott S. Sindelar, visited the USSEC booth and had discussions with USSEC Director – India Food Program Dr. Ratan Sharma about the possibility of U.S Soy imports to India and the Asian Subcontinent. Dr. Sharma explained the soy situation in the Asian Subcontinent and about increasing imports of U.S soybeans and soybean meal to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. He talked about USSEC’s work to promote U.S soybean meal and food beans in the region and about recent U.S trade team visits and a food bean import that was in process.
Mr. Sindelar and other U.S officers from the U.S Embassy in Delhi and the Mumbai U.S Consulate visited the Soy Pavilion and interacted with all soy food exhibitors about their businesses and about U.S Soy. USDA officers referred some trade contacts interested in importing U.S products to USSEC.
A few of the soy food companies displayed and sold their newly developed ready-to-eat soy-based products to visitors. This attracted a large crowd who was eager to enjoy the soy food products.
USSEC organized conferences for North Dakota food bean suppliers in Punjab and Bhopal in the Madhya Pradesh states of India as part of North Dakota’s mission to establish trade relations and opportunities for North Dakota companies with the world’s second most populous country.
These conferences focused exclusively on U.S. food specialty soybeans. More than 60 soy food companies attended interactive sessions at both locations.
The North Dakota team explained the quality and pricing attributes of U.S. food beans and educated the Indian companies on the U.S. trade, CBOT, contracts, price locking and other trade practices. Participating North Dakota companies including SB&B Foods, SunOpta, and SK Food International, gave presentations about their respective companies and products.
USSEC Director – India Food Program Dr. Ratan Sharma talked about the quality difference between Indian and U.S. Soy as well as the U.S. Soy Sustainability Protocol (SSAP), sustainable supply, and consistent quality, along with facilitating the meetings. Companies shared information about their customers and discussed about how they build up relationships and trust.
India does not grow food specialty beans, and there is a scarcity of beans at times. Quality, consistency and sustainable supply are always a problem. This was an eye opening experience for the Indian soy food companies and they showed a great interest in U.S. food beans.
USSEC India has already conducted U.S. soybean trials in India for making various products and demonstrated the superiority of U.S. beans to the Indian end users. There is a huge potential for U.S. food beans in India, and traders are already in the process of obtaining the necessary certifications for importing U.S. non-GM food beans in India.
USSEC hosted North Dakota’s first trade mission to India in February.
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring led the state’s mission to establish trade relations and opportunities for North Dakota companies with the world’s second most populous country. The North Dakota delegation included representatives from Bio Pro Power, Great Northern Ag, SB & B Foods, SK Food International, SunOpta, Superior Manufacturing, Swanson Health Products, and representatives of the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.
The NDTO team first met with USSEC Regional Representative – Asia Subcontinent (ASC) Drew Klein and USSEC’s senior team in India who provided a market overview of the ASC with reference to soy dynamics and its behavior. Following this meeting, the NDTO team met with Scott Sindelar, Minister Counselor of Agricultural Affairs, Foreign Agriculture Services (FAS) / U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Embassy of the United States, New Delhi, and Jonn Slette, Senior Attache for Agricultural – India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, FAS/USDA.
Mr. Sindelar and Mr. Slette, together with colleagues from the U.S. Department of Commerce and State Department, briefed the NDTO delegates on the current status of the agriculture sector in India. The U.S. Department of Commerce also provided individualized matchmaking services to three of the companies in various Indian cities, to facilitate their efforts to enter or expand into the Indian marketplace. Zeba Reyazuddin, Economic Growth Unit Chief, Embassy of the United States, New Delhi, provided an overview of the economic status of India quoting opportunities and constraints out.
Commissioner Goehring, along with Mr. Slette and USSEC Deputy Regional Director – ASC Vijay Anand, met with Indian government officials for talks on India’s agricultural economy and the demand for North Dakota commodities.
“We discussed North Dakota supplying them with beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and soybeans,” said Mr. Goehring. “There are still some tariff issues but we’ll work through those.”
During Mr. Goehring’s meeting with the Joint Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Santosh Kumar Sarangi, the Secretary stated that by 2025, India’s growing middle class would make up 41 percent of its population, an estimated 680 million people, twice the population of the United States.
The trade mission was divided by sector into three programs: specialty crops, soybeans and commercial products. Delegates attended market briefing sessions and educational events tailored to each sector. Meetings with Indian buyers and distributors took place in numerous cities including New Delhi, Ludhiana, Bhopal, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. A number of delegates also toured soy-processing facilities and attended the Panacea Natural Products Expo in Mumbai. Robert B. Sinner, president, SB & B, travelled to Ludhiana and Bhopal to address meetings and clients to assess and explore trade opportunities for U.S. food grade soybeans.
USSEC Director – India Food Program Dr. Ratan Sharma provided considerable support to soy participants by organizing traders’ meetings and other trade linkage opportunities. The NDTO team met with entrepreneurs who imported U.S food grade soybeans into India for trials covering various applications for the production of soy-based human food products. Firsthand feedback obtained from Indian entrepreneurs gave confidence to the NDTO team that India could quickly become an importer of more food grade soybeans due to India’s current inability to produce high quality beans suiting human food applications and its inability to cater to a sustained supply, both of which determine end product quality and business developments.
India is North Dakota’s eighth largest export market, with exports valued at $35 million in 2014, a 20 percent increase from 2013. A huge market of 1.32 billion people, half of them under 27, India remains an attractive market for U.S. businesses. It is the seventh largest economy in the world and third largest Asian economy. India has remained resilient despite cooling economies around the world. A growing financial market, declining inflation, large English-speaking population, and a stable democratic government further benefit North Dakota’s exporters.
USSEC recently hosted board members and staff of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) as they visited India on a market assessment mission from January 13-19. Their meetings began in New Delhi with the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), followed by discussions with other U.S-based organizations with agri-operations in India, including the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), ADM and Cargill, which provided the mission with the opportunity to listen to agribusiness management that each handles in India and its neighboring countries. The USSEC team provided its views on soy dynamics in the Asia Subcontinent (ASC) and provided insight to how the program is handled. These meetings gave the ISA team different perspectives on India, with reference to soy business and all factors that govern its utilization and growth.
The Illinois team traveled to Hyderabad in south central India to gain field experience on a poultry farm and a feed mill. They also had the opportunity to interact with poultry entrepreneurs who have strongly considered backward integration (soy crushing) as a means to secure soybean meal for their operations. These meetings and visits helped them gauge the potential of the animal feed industry which accounts for about 90 percent or 4.5 million metric tons (MMT) of the total soybean meal use in the country. Their visit to Indore in central India, which is the country’s soybean-producing hub, gave the ISA team an idea of soybean production methodology, handling, trade and other related processes. Observations at the wholesale grain market provided a picture of soybean farming practices in India in comparison to the advanced technology that the U.S. Soy farmers employ. The interactions at the soy crushing plant of one of the largest Indian soy firms, Ruchi Soya, demonstrated the extent of value addition for soy in the form of soy flour and texturized soy protein (TSP) used for human food. Their interactions with trade associations Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) in Indore and the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEAI) of Mumbai allowed them to examine how the Indian industry views its current and future soy business.
ISA directors Dale Asher, Sherri Kannmacher, John Longley, Bill Raben, Lynn Rohrscheib, Carrie Winkelmann, along with communications director Amy Roady and meeting and event manager Dustin Scott made up the ISA team.
ISA made many observations during their trip to India, including that the country’s soybean exports have dropped significantly; GMO soybeans are not allowed, but the government is still deciding this issue; GM cotton is allowed; the huge, growing population needs more protein; Indians spend 54 percent of their income on food; the country has a very high poverty rate, a growing middle class, and an emerging tech sector; per capita consumption of oil is high; soybean prices run about $14 per bushel; yields are about 1/3 of U.S. yields; there are many small farmers (less than 2 hectares); farming is very inefficient in India, but it keeps people busy; the crushing industry operates at 1/3 capacity; the poultry industry is mostly live market and has to pay for higher soybean prices; India has high tariffs and wants to protect its market, especially for non-GMO soybeans, but there is a lot of potential for U.S. Soy if the market opens up, along with opportunities for whole soybean imports such as jobs, oil for food use, and meal for livestock.
Please click here to view more pictures of ISA’s mission to India.
USSEC India recently worked with the feeding and social welfare program of the government of the Maharashtra province to promote soy utilization in its programs. In addition to partnering with the national and international branches of the Lions Club, it also involved the Govardhan Mahila Bal Vikash (GMBV – woman and child welfare organization), a government contractor which exclusively works on eradication of malnutrition through using soy-based formulations.
GMBV has been using soy to prepare protein supplements for this province with the technical support of USSEC. The organization also used the results to submit reports recommending soy be included as a protein enhancer in feeding programs on a national level. Convinced by soy’s impact to tackle malnutrition, the Lions Club International, a welfare organization with social responsibilities, decided to help the Indian government and the feeding program contractors to meet the additional costs involved in soy-based formulations. This program was attended by 95 participants, including authorities from the Lions Club’s national and the international branches, government officers and government feeding program contractors.
USSEC Director – India Food Program Dr. Ratan Sharma addressed the gathering, emphasising malnutrition in India and the Asian Subcontinent (ASC) in general, and discussed soy-based formulations in welfare programs and the role soy can play in tackling malnutrition.
Partnering with the Lions Club International is important for USSEC because the organization has a global mandate to eliminate malnutrition that will propose to implement soy-based formulations to 210 malnourished countries in the world, including the entire ASC region.
India has the second highest number of undernourished people in the world with about 225 million who are chronically undernourished. The prevalence of underweight children is highest in the world. Food and nutrition security has been a major developmental objective in the country since Indian independence, but despite high economic growth, the country has so far failed to improve its food and nutrition security. The Indian government runs the world’s largest feeding and social welfare program, covering 250 million beneficiaries by providing full meal and supplementary nutrition.
Dr. Ratan further stated that soy is the major nutritional ingredient for these programs but is limited in use due to in lack of sufficient fund allocations. Involvement of organizations such as the Lions Club to offset additional costs will significantly boost soy utilization in these programs. USSEC India is working in this direction to help utilize soy produced in the country as well as working towards creating a future opportunity for U.S Soy.
The 5th International Symposium on Cage Aquaculture in Asia took place in November 2015 in Cochin, India.
USSEC Deputy Regional Director – Asia Subcontinent P.E. Vijay Anand and R. Umakanth, USSEC Aquaculture Consultant – India, participated in the symposium as special invitees and knowledge partners.
Dr. S. Ayyappan, director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi opened the symposium, addressing about 300 delegates from India and abroad. He recognized USSEC’s market research and forward strategy for aquaculture and stated that cage farming systems are still in their infancy, so India does not yet have much to showcase to the rest of Asia. He stated, however, that the Indian government is supportive of this sector and urged all stakeholders to speed up implementation so aquaculture production gets further augmented in India.
USSEC was given a key role in the three-day symposium, making lead presentations and participating in strategy discussions. Dr. Anand spoke on “The Indian Aqua Feed Industry and its Support to Cage Farming,” reflecting on the fact that USSEC has played a major role in transforming a significant part of the traditional farming practices into feed-based farming. As a result of this, India has developed the potential to supply 2.8 million tons (MT) of feed of which only 1.54 MT was actually marketed in 2015, relying on 400 thousand metric tons (TMT) of soybean meal. He stated that the capability of Indian feed mills to produce good feed is a ready tool for the development of cage culture in India and that USSEC has ready, tested cage technologies that can be adopted. In his presentation, Dr. Anand referenced USSEC’s Low Volume High Density (LVHD) and ocean cage aquaculture technologies (OCAT) technologies that are ready for use. Some effective models were calculated to project additional fish production that can be brought in if cage farming was to be adopted.
Dr. Anand and Mr. Umakanth also took the opportunity to suggest to the Indian government and the stakeholders that India faces some serious constraints in feed and soy such as lack of feed-consuming fish species; weakness in hatchery technology of new species; low fish consumption; lack of cold chain capabilities; and a lack of technology to produce high value species, still a sizeable farming segment that relies on nutritionally poor feeds and farming system diversification such as cage farming. They concluded by saying that the U.S. Soy industry has helped develop aquaculture technologies and worldwide aquaculture strategies that can be offered to developing countries to help transform their industries onto profitable and sustainable models.
As part of the demand-building activity for soy-based multigrain dal maker, USSEC India’s Human Utilization program conducted an event focused on ‘Do How’ and ‘Know How,’ coinciding with the launching of the product on February 9 in Tirupati, a city located in the province of Andhra Pradesh in southern India. The event was jointly held with Ruchi Soya Industries and targeted end users. The objective was to create awareness and interest on the unique attributes of soy-based multigrain dal maker and its varied product applications. The ‘Know How’ sessions were handled by USSEC, while an executive chef from a reputed hotel focused the ‘Do How’ session on preparing region-specific culinary products.
Dal is one of India’s most popular dishes. It is traditionally made of lentils, peas, or beans, which are split, dried and stripped of their hulls. It is often eaten with rice as a side dish or included in other dishes.
The event was formally inaugurated by Mrs. Sugunamma, a member of the legislative assembly from the government of Andhra Pradesh, who was pleased to learn the nutritional and economic benefits of this innovative product. She is convinced of the high nutritional significance of soy-based multigrain dal maker as a carrier of high protein nutrition to the needy and spoke about how such a low cost, high nutrition food product should be gainfully utilized in all government-funded nutrition intervention programs in the state. She also stressed that this low cost – high nutrition product should be made available to the vulnerable sections and those segments of the population that are nutrition-deprived and offered the support of her offices to promote the product to government officials and opinion leaders.
More than 120 end user segments including restaurants, hotels, catering establishments, opinion leaders and members of media and press attended the event.
USSEC consultants and industry representatives addressed various topics covering the manufacturing, quality protocols and nutritional attributes of soy-based multigrain dal maker. Ruchi Soya Industries’ head of marketing explained the market process and product outreach. The ‘Do How’ segment was showcased by the hotel’s executive chef, who together with his team demonstrated the preparation of great tasting and highly nutritive regional food preparations including tomato dal, spinach dal, sambar (spiced dal soup with vegetables), dal pyasam (sweet dessert made with dal, milk and sugar) and local snacks such as dal vada and samosa.
The participants sampled all prepared foods containing soy-based dal maker and rated the products extremely high on acceptability and taste. Four customers from the catering and restaurant segment placed orders for the product immediately.
A large number of press and media attended this session and USSEC Director – India Soy Food Program Dr. M. M. Krishna and Awesh Jain of Ruchi Soya Industries briefed the press and clarified aspects of the product and suggested many application possibilities. The event was widely covered in many regional and language newspapers.
Please click here to read the article from The Hindu, which has a circulation of 15,58,379 copies.
Twenty-nine participants from the Asian Subcontinent (ASC) visited the 2016 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta from January 26-28. They participated in all USSEC-coordinated events, expressing enthusiasm along with a desire to elevate their business and technical abilities. USSEC Animal Utilization consultants – ASC Pawan Kumar and Yadu Nandan coordinated the team and facilitated interactions with U.S. Soy grower leaders, USSEC global consultants, and USSEC staff, along with attending various soy discussions organized by USSEC. The trade team was comprised of feed millers, soy importers, feed formulation consultants, poultry media, representatives of the Poultry Federation of India and commercial officers from the U.S Embassy, Pakistan.
Participants took turns visiting the USSEC booth and interacting with the USSEC team to learn about sustainability, differentiation, supply and logistics of U.S. soybean meal and obtained knowledge on advancements in the global poultry sector and tackling avian influenza. The Nimbus Group from Nepal, which is a client of DeLong, utilized the IPPE venue for discussions and moved forward its agenda of branding and launching U.S. Identity Preserved Soy Oil in the Nepal market; it will soon acquire SSAP certification to further strengthen branding. Some decisive meetings were organized by Dr. Kumar and Dr. Nandan to help connect Pakistani entrepreneurs to establish their full fat soybean meal plant, possibly the first of its kind for the country.
Drs. Kumar and Nandan also used the event to quantify industry size (in terms of volume) through participation. The feed mill participants accounted for an annual production of 864,000 metric tons (MT), which depends on 172,000 MT of soy meal. The ASC feed formulation consultants from the poultry industry are directly connected to an annual feed milling capacity of 3.15 million tons, which utilizes 630,000 MT of soy meal. USSEC – ASC feels this is a sizeable group that derived multiple benefits that will eventually translate into value and business for the U.S. Soy industry.
Having achieved U.S. soybean farmer strategic goals for market growth, the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) transitioned its Bangladesh country programs to USSEC.
“Demand for U.S. soy protein has taken off in this South Asian country that is the eighth most populous country in the world,” said WISHH Program Committee Chairman Lucas Heinen, a Kansas soybean grower. “Soybean growers planned for such success when they created WISHH as a trailblazer for trade through long-term demand building in developing countries.”
“We are excited by Bangladesh’s potential. There is real opportunity in this market for U.S. Soy, as poultry and fish consumption continue to rise,” stated USSEC Chairman Laura Foell.
Bangladesh is home to more than 168 million people and has a rapidly growing middle-class economy. The country has purchased more than $500 million of U.S. Soy in the last five years with purchases accelerating in the last couple of years.
The U.S. Soy Family has been conducting programs in Bangladesh since 1999 with WISHH taking the lead since 2010. Through their checkoff programs, state soybean organizations supported WISHH’s work in Bangladesh, which has included a variety of educational programs with food companies and their trade associations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) programs also played a key role in introducing the benefits of soy protein to the South Asian market. USDA funding aided WISHH in forging key relationships with organizations such as the Bangladesh Auto Biscuit and Bread Manufacturer’s Association that signed a February 2015 agreement to conduct soy flour baking trials under a USDA Quality Samples Program. USSEC will now build on WISHH’s work in Bangladesh, and will work in both the feed and food sectors.
Pakistan, the sixth most populous country in the world, is the next market that WISHH will transition to USSEC. Planning and coordination discussions have begun for a 2017 transfer.
USSEC India recently participated in a Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) / U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cooperators meeting led by the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, and Scott Sindelar, Minister-Councilor FAS in New Delhi.
Representing USSEC, Dr. Ratan Sharma, USSEC Director – Soy Food Program, India, discussed the current soybean situation in India, the drastic decline in soybean meal export from India, and the increasing domestic consumption of soy food and feed uses. He reported on the first-ever open discussion in a half-day session organized by the Soy Oil Processors Association of India (SOPA) that discussed the possibilities of adopting GM practices for soybeans in India, during SOPA’s oilseed convention in Nagpur in the last week of September.
Other discussions during the meeting included USSEC’s efforts to enhance soybean and soymeal imports from the U.S. to the ASC region with an increased U.S. share; U.S. beans being crushed for oil and meals in the region for local consumption; and U.S. food bean and soy oil opportunities in India.
USSEC India recently participated in “India Farm 2 Fork 2015” in New Delhi.
Farm 2 Fork was organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce in Delhi, one of India’s leading chambers of commerce. The conference is an annual event attended by a select category of food industries, food policy makers, concerned ministries and departments of the Indian government.
Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, union minister of food processing industries from the Indian government, opened the program, stressing that food processing is the key link between agriculture and manufacturing. In a developing country such as India, it contributes as much as 9 to 10 percent of the GDP in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Speakers and panellists talked about issues including food processing, skill development in the food processing sector; food and nutrition security; food laws; procurement; distribution and supply chain; marketing; and other aspects of agriculture and food processing.
There was a debate on the topic of “why India doesn’t import oil seeds rather than importing edible oil.” Dr. Ratan Sharma, USSEC Director – Soy Food Program, India, participated in this debate and discussed the miserable soy situation in India and the consequences faced by the crushers and the soy processing industry in general. He emphasized India’s shrinking soy production and said that 80 percent of the country’s crush capacity is not utilized due to lack of availability and the complex soy situation in India.
This situation creates an opportunity for India to import U.S. Soy as a sustainable and convenient soy supply to fulfill the oil and protein requirements of the country. Besides fulfilling the edible oil and soy meal requirements, it would also create employment opportunities in this sector, which is a major drive of the Indian government. In continuation, Dr. Sharma described soy processing opportunities for food and feed uses in India.
John Slette, Senior Agriculture Attaché of the U.S. Embassy served as keynote speaker, discussing how soy food and feed business create a livelihood for a large number of entrepreneurs in India, including those in the aquaculture sector. Mr. Slette also arranged an opportunity for Dr. Sharma to be interviewed by an online business TV news channel. This interview provided Dr. Sharma with a chance to highlight the opportunities for U.S. Soy in India.
In another event in Delhi recently, USSEC India participated in a FAS/USDA co-operators meeting led by the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, a highest – ranking officer of the USDA and Scott Sindelar – Minister councilor FAS in Delhi. Representing USSEC, Dr. Ratan Sharma discussed about the present scenario of the soybean in India and drastic decline in the soy meal export from India and about the increasing domestic consumption of the soy food and feed uses. He mentioned about the first ever open discussion in a half day session organised by the Soy Oil Processors Association of India (SOPA) to discuss the possibilities of adopting the GM practices for soybean in India, during their oil seed convention in Nagpur in the last week of the September 2015. USSEC’s efforts to enhance the soybean and soymeal imports from US in the ASC region with an increased US share, about the US beans being crushed for the oil and meals in the region for the local consumption, and US food bean and soy oil opportunities in India were discussed during this meet.
Coinciding with the introduction of a soy-based, multigrain dal maker in India’s third largest city, Chennai, USSEC conducted a promotional event on November 24 focused on increasing awareness and demonstrating multiple regional food product feasibility though a unique ‘do how’ program. About 150 participants representing the bulk-consuming segment including hotels, restaurants, catering and food service establishments, attended the event.
Dal is one of India’s most popular dishes. It is traditionally made of lentils, peas, or beans, which are split, dried and stripped of their hulls. It is often eaten with rice as a side dish or included in other dishes.
USSEC Director – India Soy Food Program Dr. M. M. Krishna addressed the participants and explained the important features of the soy-based multigrain dal maker in terms of its superior nutrition delivery and affordability besides its preeminent suitability for use as the base food in a variety of region specific food products such as sambar (dal soup with vegetables and spices) and dal with vegetables, in addition to other main dishes, starters and snack products. Mr. Awesh Jain, project head from Ruchi Soya Industries, communicated the unique manufacturing process as well as the rigid quality systems used in production. He also highlighted the market potential for the product, particularly as a source of affordable protein for the bottom of the pyramid population. The soy-based multigrain dal maker received the highest endorsement from a celebrity culinary expert and celebrated chef in Chennai. The head of Ruchi Soya’s sales-promoting company explained distribution arrangements to all the potential users.
The highlight of the event was a ‘do how’ show, given by the hotel’s executive chef and his team. They gave a step-by-step demonstration on preparing great tasting dishes based on soy-based multigrain dal maker. The products included regional specialties such as sambar, vegetable dal, dal vada (a deep fried starter snack made with dal maker), dal halwa (a sweet dessert prepared with dal maker, sugar, butter, oil, and dried fruits and nuts).
Nearly 110 people participated in the scoring of products and feedback. There was overwhelming acceptance of the products demonstrated during the event. The average score of excellent and good was 96 percent, with a range of 92 to 99 percent for different products.
Because the participants were mainly from the consuming industry (hotels, restaurants, food service, hospitality, etc.), the venue also served as an effective buyer – seller meet. Many of the participants have solicited commercial information and details of outlets for sourcing.
This unique event in a large metro city with a very high percentage of middle and bottom of the pyramid population with a high consumption of dal will catalyze market-building and growth in consumption of the dal analogue and help increase domestic consumption of soy in India.
Instead of communicating end-use application recipes for soy-based staples, USSEC has made a significant change to actually demonstrate the preparation of regional specific foods based on soy staples such as dal and food analogues. This shift from ‘know how’ to ‘do how’ has been found to be significantly impactful and more effective in capturing the consumer’s interest in the products.
USSEC also conducted an important ‘do how’ event for soy-based dal maker and food analogues in Visakhapatnam, the largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh back on February 9, 2015. The city has the largest number of institutional catering and college/university hostels, etc. An initial study conducted by USSEC gave encouraging demand leads for the products. 110 senior operating and purchase functionaries from hospitality industry as well as by the food trade and academia participated in the event.
The demand-building event designed as a ‘do how’ demonstration event was aimed at actually demonstrating the preparation of great tasting region specific foods. The executive chef of Hotel Daspalla, Visakhapatnam, performed the ‘do how’ demonstration. In all, nine region-specific dal based traditional foods were demonstrated and all the participants sampled these products. The products received an overwhelming response from all the participants. More than 80 percent of the participants rated the products as great tasting and highly acceptable. Presentations made by Ruchi Soya and USSEC on dal and food analogues and the health and nutrition benefits of soy were well received and discussed by the participants.
The event has generated great interest among the participating food service and hospitality industry personnel as well as with the trade. One large distributor of commodities for the hotel industry instantly placed a trial order for soy-based dal analogue and he is hopeful of building demand significantly in the next few months.
The most recent issue of USDA Oilseeds Markets and Trade highlights the rapid transition in India from soybean meal exporter to domestic consumer. Although the country was once a significant regional exporter of soybean meal, India is unlikely to regain export market share in the coming year. India’s domestic use of soybean products has been expanding. Historically, the country consumed the oil and exported excess meal. Growth in domestic poultry and egg production has increased the demand for protein meal. Rising demand for soybean meal has coincided with a drop in soybean production, tightening supplies and pushing local prices significantly above world levels.
This has led to a decline in Indian soybean meal exports, particularly to distant markets. Last year, nearly half of the exports went by surface trade to neighboring markets, primarily Bangladesh and Pakistan. Yet these rapidly growing markets are seeking alternative suppliers, purchasing not only more affordable soybean meal but also soybeans. India’s strong domestic use and declining export prospects appear likely to continue into the future, potentially ending its status as a net exporter. These circumstances may provide opportunities for the United States and South America to expand shipments to Asia.
Adding to the above report, USSEC Deputy Regional Director – ASC Dr. P.E. Vijay Anand stated that the human food and the aquaculture industries also depend on soy products as protein sources in addition to the poultry and egg production sectors. Recently, the use of texturized soy products (TSP) and other soy flour variants used in the human food industry has grown significantly. Increasing prices of vegetables and all time high prices of pulses further fuels the growth. Consumers are drawn towards the fact that TSP can be obtained at a quarter of the cost of pulses and with twice the protein content. On the aquaculture front, 15-20 percent growth in the shrimp industry has led to increased feed production and soy consumption. Inconsistent supply and the high cost of fishmeal have also contributed to the increased use of soy meal. The freshwater fish feed industry that relies solely on plant protein sources is another consistent user of soy meal. Soy usage in the feed and food industries will continue and lead to more domestic utilization of India’s soy production.
As part of the promotional activities to popularize the use of soybean oil in food processing applications and as an edible oil of choice, USSEC India conducted a focused event, “Soybean Oil for Health and Wellness,” to a broad cross section of baking industry professionals and food service operators in Kochi on August 8. Kochi is the largest city in the state of Kerala and is regarded as the state’s bakery capital. The event was conducted jointly with the All Kerala Bread Manufacturers Association. The baking and food service segments were targeted since they represent significant consumption of edible oils.
Approximately 70 participants from the baking and food service industries, including senior personnel from the county’s largest bread making company, Hindustan Unilever Modern Food Industries, and other important opinion leaders from the industry and consumer segments, participated in the event.
The health and nutritional attributes of soybean oil in terms of its favorable fatty acid composition and its enhanced value as a good source of other health promoting bio-actives including Omega 3 fatty acids, Tocopherol, Phyto-sterols and Stannols, were presented and discussed by USSEC Director – India Soy Food Program M. M. Krishna. Food and nutrition industry consultant Dr. Suresh Itapu detailed the preferred use of soybean oil as an ingredient in bakery products such as bread, rolls and cookies. Master baker Shorya Kapoor and faculty members from the Assocom Institute of Baking Technology and Management in Noida conducted the on-site baking demonstrations for bread, rolls and cookies. Baking demonstrations illustrated the nutritional, functional and economic benefits of using high protein dispersibility index (PDI) Soy flour in bread and rolls formulations in conjunction with soybean oil.
The senior general manager of Hindustan Unilever Modern Food Industries talked about soybean oil as a preferred source of fat for the baked products. The senior general manager of Sakthi Soya in Coimbatore explained the aspects of availability of the desired quality of high PDI Soy flour and its estimated cost and supply logistics.
The participating bakers and food service professionals evaluated the products made with soybean oil and found these highly acceptable from the point of organoleptics as well as economics.
On July 24, USSEC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/ Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) met over a working lunch in Indore, central India.
USSEC India invited Minister Counselor, USDA/FAS, New Delhi Scott Sindelar and Agriculture Specialist/Oil Seed Analyst, USDA/FAS New Delhi Amit Aradhey to this meeting. USSEC Director International Program Strategy & Research/Regional Director – ASC Drew Klein moderated the meeting and discussions. American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president Bret Davis and United Soybean Board (USB) director C.D. Simmons had an opportunity to hear views and market assessments expressed by the USDA in New Delhi. USSEC consultant Paul Smolen and USSEC Marketing Director – Animal Nutrition/Meal Pam Helmsing were also present at the meeting, along with USSEC India consultants.
The group discussed the upcoming regional meetings and plans to retain part-time consultants in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in order to further nurture these markets for U.S. Soy imports. Another key topic of discussion was GM issues prevalent in the ASC region and the group reviewed possible approaches to address non-tariff barriers. Mr. Sindelar thanked USSEC for its recent Emerging Market Program (EMP) proposal, which envisions a collaborative approach with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to initiate a low-key education approach for government, industry and media to spell out the benefits of GMOs. Mr. Sindelar also suggested that the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling allowing frozen chicken imports from the U.S. could strengthen USSEC’s arguments in favor of a pro-GM position. The group exchanged views on India’s ability to model other Asian growth economies such as China and Korea. It was also noted that there are positive statements on economic growth from the Indian political leadership regarding GMOs. Ideas were floated on the use of market access programs to set up a business incubator for local entrepreneurs. FAS used a recent seminar by the California Walnut Commission where acclaimed Indian experts talked about the health benefits of walnuts as a possible model for future work.