News: Asia Subcontinent
As part of its larger mission to the Asia Subcontinent (ASC), the QSSB team visited Sri Lanka on July 30 and 31, where they participated in an industry meeting and visited a feed mill, layer farms, broiler farms, and chicken outlets.
The delegation attended the “Lanka – U.S. Soy Alliance.” This networking meeting helped the U.S. Soy representatives to interact with and learn about the Sri Lankan industry. About 55 participants attended the meeting where two leading industry members discussed the Sri Lankan industry’s progress and growth.
At the meeting, USSEC Country Representative – Sri Lanka Athula Mahagamage and the Sri Lankan industry representatives provided an overview on the Sri Lankan market for U.S. Soy, animal feed operations, consumption patterns, possible applications for soy in human food, and future growth opportunities.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter emphasized and assured USSEC’s and the U.S. Soy industry’s support to the Sri Lankan industry and discussed USSEC’s activities worldwide. He compared Sri Lanka’s market to India’s and said that Iowa is 2.2 times the size of Sri Lanka. He continued to compare dry, value-added chicken versus the wet market (packaged versus birds that slaughtered on the spot. He said that the U.S. currently has a 100 percent market share in Sri Lanka.
Participants received the opportunity to know more about Sri Lankan opportunities and potential through one-on-one discussions over dinner.
The team also visited a feed mill, Gold Coin Feeds, where they saw stocks of U.S soybean meal, while a visit to a modern broiler farm indicated growth in the poultry industry. The trip to the farm also allowed the team to observe Sri Lanka’s countryside.
At the broiler operation, the delegation learned that each year, it processes 30,000 birds per shed per cycle of 36 days when they are harvested at 4.5 pounds. The 6-8 sheds are modernand environmentally controlled. The mortality rate is 2 percent and it uses no antibiotics and performs no debeaking.
By contrasting many small “mom and pop” grocery stores, the delegation had the opportunity to compare modern retailing and customer preferences to various food and grocery products. For example, the Pussala Meat shop demonstrated Sri Lanka’s chicken processing and retailing. 95 percent of the country’s poultry industry relies on processed, chilled and/or frozen chicken.
The QSSB team undertook 5 different activities in a span of 28 hours in Sri Lanka.
USSEC’s QSSB mission continued in Kolkata, India, on August 1 and 2.
Ten Bangladeshi industry members, including Moshiur Rehman, the managing director of the Paragon Group, traveled to the city of Kolkata, near the border of Bangladesh, to meet the delegation. Five Indian crushers / soy traders also met the QSSB team and learned about developments taking place in Bangladesh.
The USSEC mission visited Hi-Tech feed mill, a new broiler feed mill that produces 96,000 MT per year and has plans to diversify into aquaculture feed. During the briefing at the mill, the delegation learned about poultry growth and consumer demand, but also noted that there is plenty of room for growth as the per capita consumption of chicken in India is still very low.
About 33 participants attended the “Bangla-U.S Soy Alliance” in Kolkata. This was an exclusive session for the QSSBs to interact with the Bangladeshi industry. There will soon be four crush plants and several full fat soybean meal (FFSBM) production units, which will add to whole bean consumption in Bangladesh.
Mr. Rehman stressed that it was more important to conduct in-country activities to demonstrate technologies to the Bangladeshi people rather than conduct trips to the U.S. or the ASC region, noting that the scope of exposure is limited on the latter while in-country demonstrations and activities can be accessed by more people. He noted that aquaculture demonstrations were of immediate requirement.
Kazi Hassan, a key industry leader managing the Kazi group, gave his positive impressions on U.S. Soy and mentioned that his group would need some assistance or recommendations on how to improve their posts’ infrastructure. At the moment, he observed that there is too much handling, as large vessels cannot access the port. Increased tax on soybean meal imports in Bangladesh will make meal costlier and this could shift imports of meal to India.
Following the “Bangla – U.S. Soy Alliance” meeting, the group attended the evening networking reception, which was attended by the Bangladeshi industry members, QSSBs, USSEC, the U.S Consulate in Kolkata, and the East Indian industry representatives. The three-hour interactions helped the QSSB team to better understand Bangladeshi requirements as well as the East Indian industry. A total of 58 members attended the networking event.
The QSSB team participated in 3 impactful activities in 14 hours’ time in Kolkata.
The USSEC mission to the ASC wrapped up with a visit to Delhi, India from August 3 – 5.
The QSSB team attended a reception hosted by Scott Sindelar, Minister Counselor of Agricultural Affairs, Foreign Agriculture Services (FAS) / U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Embassy of the United States, New Delhi at his residence.
USSEC Deputy Regional Director – ASC Vijay Anand said, “It was an honor for the Indian industry members to receive this invitation from the U.S Embassy.”
About 65 participants attended the event, including ADM, Cargill, Poultry Federation of India, U.S. Grains Council (USGC), and U.S food grade soybean importers. These interactions helped the QSSB team obtain perspectives from different industry stakeholders.
Mr. Sindelar addressed the gathering, saying that USSEC was the most important U.S. cooperator and its continued activities and efforts have paid returns to U.S. agriculture.
USSEC Stakeholder Relations Manager Will McNair briefed attendees on the objectives of the QSSB mission to the ASC.
In Delhi, the team was taken to McDonalds for lunch, which provided them an insight on changing food preferences of customers, trends with the young population in India, and price comparisons.
A trip through the countryside was a great learning experience as participants observed Indian agricultural systems. The summer crop is in progress and they were able to witness many activities including brick making and rice farming. Passing through Agra, which is an overgrown village, allowed them to compare life in a metro city in India versus a small town.
On the last day of the mission, Mr. Sindelar and his team welcomed the group to the embassy, and they put together a presentation on the USDA’s perspectives on the Indian market. This activity was very helpful for the QSSB team to make their assessments. Mr. Sindelar stressed that it pays to be patient to be able to derive benefits from the Indian market and that they have seen success in the past.
USSEC made two presentations to the QSSB group as the final activity during the mission. One of the presentations focused on the market assessment recently put together for the ASC region, which contained information on demographics; regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT); current utilization; and future forecasts. It also had data on U.S Soy imports into the region. The second presentation centered on ASC’s program management, mission and goals; consultants’ geographic positioning and roles they perform; return on investment (ROI) for dollars invested; how funds are distributed against projects/activities; and unified export strategy (UES), among other topics. This was a two hour long session that helped tie up all that was observed at the market place during the seven-day mission.
The Iowa group was especially glad to note that the USDA has taken initiatives to accompany an Indian government delegation to the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa on August 31 and September 1. Drew Klein, Regional Representative – ASC will accompany the team once they reach the U.S, and Santosh Singh from the U.S. embassy will accompany them from India.
In Delhi, the QSSB team went through 6 different activities during a two and a half day span.
“With each of these trade visits, I am amazed at the breadth and depth of the technical services. They are building relationships by helping people with their businesses, not just moving soybeans. Helping companies builds loyalty for U.S. soybeans.”
-Kathy Maurer, Financial and International Marketing Director, Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee
“I’m very excited to see that the reverse marketing that USSEC initiated long ago is working exactly how it was planned. It’s not possible to really have an idea of what is going on in India without seeing it firsthand. We have changed the mindset of those people and we will continue to move the needle there.”
-Park Wells, Executive Director, Tennessee Soybean Promotion Council
“The [Indian] government could really affect change for its people if they would remove barriers such inadequate roads and if they would take advantage of farming technologies that are available. The country and its people have such potential.”
-Ken Moore, Grower, Tennessee
“Sri Lanka presents such immediate potential. They want their farmers to be progressive and they want to import U.S. Soy. They understand the U.S. Soy advantage. They have a much more sophisticated marketing and processing system than India does. In Bangladesh, based on the comments that we heard, they recognize the quality of U.S. Soy but still make purchasing decisions wholly on price.”
-Tony Stafford, Director of Business Development and New Markets, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council
“The meetings at the U.S. Embassy really gave me a great understanding of all of the forces that work together to move my soy. USSEC and USDA and FAS … it’s so important to have these boots on the ground. When Jonn (Slette), the senior attaché, emphasized the great value of our visits to the market, it really drove home how important these interpersonal relationships are.”
-Mike Bellar, Grower, Kansas
“Feeding the world is so far from just how we can increase yield. There are so many market access issues that need to be addressed in order to get our commodity to the people that need protein.”
-Matt Stutzman, ASA Director and Grower, Michigan
USSEC conducted a trade meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh attended by 40 key soy stakeholders, comprised of poultry and aquaculture feedmillers, soy traders and soy crushers. The conclave’s objective was to bring the country’s soy representation together to have a dialogue with USSEC to assess opportunities and constraints for U.S Soy in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is emerging as a prominent country in the Asia Subcontinent (ASC) region for imports of U.S Soy, mainly whole soybeans. Its soy demand has gradually shifted from meal soybean imports, particularly over the last three years. In 2014/15 U.S. soybeans accounted for an 87 percent share (603,000 metric tons (MT)) of the country’s market.
USSEC CEO Jim Sutter thanked Bangladesh’s industry leaders for their 2014/15 purchases and provided a strategic overview of USSEC, a brief description of the U.S Soy industry, aspects of the global soy trade, and current conditions of the soy crop. USSEC Regional Representative – ASC Drew Klein described USSEC’s role, strategy, and operations in greater detail. Next, all participants described their business and experiences with soy, especially U.S. Soy, through extensive discussions for the next two hours. Several users remarked that they were very pleased with the quality of U.S. soybean meal, even over that available from Brazil, the principal alternative source in the region. Several entrepreneurs are willing to pay a premium for U.S. Soy.
The largest crusher in the country, Meghana Group, imported 600,000 MT of U.S. Soy last year, almost exclusively. Several attendees noted the superior amino acid profile of U.S. Soy and the consistent color, appearance, and performance of U.S. soybean meal. Two food companies purchase U.S. soy protein concentrate and isolate for inclusion into their products. The largest poultry producer documented a 3 percent increase in productivity with U.S. soybean meal compared to Brazilian meal in a corn-soy diet for his breeding hens.
One constraint to further growth is the lack of infrastructure for both bulk and containerized shipping and the possibility of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the government of Bangladesh, and private industry providing capital for infrastructure improvement was discussed.
Moshiur Rehman, president of the Bangladesh poultry association and managing director of the Paragon group, addressed the conclave and predicted the demand for feed and soybean meal will double by 2020. He forecasted about 50 to 60 percent of the soybean meal will be produced domestically using imported soybeans and the rest will be imported. He was concerned about a recent proposal to increase the tariff on soybean meal from 5 to 10 percent. In a separate discussion, Mr. Rahman described his association’s efforts to build demand for protein in the human diet by sponsoring school programs that emphasize eating an egg a day. The program is already yielding increased consumption.
USSEC’s Southeast Asia (SEA) and Asia Subcontinent (ASC) regions teamed up to educate a team of 14 aquaculture entrepreneurs on hatchery and farm production technologies for new fish species. The focus was on a high value fish variety called the murrel, which fetches $4.50 – $ 7.00 per kilogram (whole fish), depending on the market region. This fish is easily farmed in China and SEA, but India lacks the technological knowledge to produce this fish.
USSEC Deputy Regional Director – ASC P.E Vijay Anand states that India’s aquaculture program has identified several constraints and one of them is lack of diversity in feed-consuming fish species. The mission was to convince Indian aquaculturists to adopt more feed-consuming species into their production systems. These new initiatives will demand more soy-based fish feeds. R. Umakanth, who manages USSSEC’s aquaculture program for the ASC, and Vo Hoang Nyugen, USSEC Technical Consultant, Aquaculture – Vietnam, implemented the mission under the guidance of USSEC Aquaculture Program Lead Technical Consultant – Sea Lukas Manomaitis.
The fourteen-member industry team was composed of six aquaculture integrators, four fish hatchery operators and four large fish farmers. About ten group members were graduates of professional fisheries capable of grasping new technologies promptly. The six integrators also run aquafeed businesses and hold 50 percent of the fish feed market share in India (300,000 metric tons (MT) /year).
The team went through a detailed technical overview on murrel production presented by Dr. Trinh Quoc Trong, director of the National Breeding Centre for Southern Freshwater Aquaculture. This was followed by a series of field visits to murrel hatcheries and farms. The team was able to witness consistent production, feed-based farming of murrels and their distribution systems into the local market. They had an opportunity to visit the National Breeding Centre for Southern Freshwater Aquaculture, whose main task was to apply new technologies in selective breeding, genetic manipulation, hybridization, and gene pool conservation for freshwater fish species. To help add value to knowledge on the entire value chain, the program also visited a feed mill that supplies feed for murrels, distribution systems for feed and markets where murrels are sold.
Mr. Umakanth shares that a month after returning from Vietnam, one of the participants was invited by a state fisheries department to educate more entrepreneurs on murrel farming. Three of the participants have started developing hatcheries for the species and the National Fisheries Development Board is now motivated to conduct induction programs for fisheries department personnel on murrel production. By establishing more new species, it is believed that more feed capacities and soy meal will be put to use in India.
USSEC recently conducted an event, “Protein for All,” primarily targeting India’s animal feed and soybean meal industries along with protein end users, both meat and non-meat consumption sectors. The event was conducted in Patna (North India) and was attended by 125 participants and representatives of the media who spread the protein message to a wider audience.
India’s large population coupled with low protein consumption qualifies the country for some effective pull marketing strategies. Two major constraints still exist in the Indian community – knowledge of daily protein requirements is low, as is the ability to calculate dietary protein requirements based on different types of food products available. Knowledge about the economics of protein sources and different types of protein products and their characteristics is also lacking. The staple diet of most Indians is cereal- and pulse-based, which delivers about 20 grams (g) of protein per day.
USSEC animal utilization consultant Dr. Pawan Kumar conceptualized the idea of “Protein for All” in order to educate a diverse audience on creating customer opportunities to increase the consumption of animal products (poultry meat, eggs, fish, and shrimp) in addition to cereals and pulses. The event also recommended the use of texturized soy products as direct protein supplement for non-meat eaters.
Four focused presentations were made during the session.
Dr. Suresh Itapu, director of Food and Agri Consulting Services in Hyderabad, discussed protein requirements for different age groups and activity groups. Dr. Itapu explained protein’s structure and how it is synthesized in the human body. He stated that an adult with low activity should take 0.8 g protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight, an adult with medium activity should consume 1g/kg of body weight, and a high activity or stressed person should consume 1.2 g protein/kg of body weight. For growing children, the requirement is 1.5 g/kg of body weight for low activity and 1.8 g/kg body weight for children with high physical activity. Athletes’ requirements vary between 2 – 2.5 g/kg of body weight.
USSEC animal utilization consultant Dr. Yadu Nandan presented a mathematical approach on how protein intake can be monitored, demonstrating that protein intake can be guided at every meal by measuring cooking and serving on a plate.
USSEC Country Representative – Sri Lanka Dr. Athula Mahagamagae spoke about different sources of protein, its significance, and its health benefits. His focus was on poultry and egg products and their nutritional details.
In Dr. Kumar’s presentation, he discussed the basic differences in food habits of south Asians and the rest of world. Proportions based on half meat and half cereal is the norm worldwide, but in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, cereals and a small quantity of pulses form staple diets. Pulse production is not meeting demand, resulting in reduction in per capita availability of pulses in the region. This trend reduces protein supply from pulses in the region. Dr. Kumar recommended that alternate protein solutions could be obtained from increasing the consumption of milk, chicken, egg, fish, and various other soy protein-based food products. Chicken and eggs are the cheapest source of animal-based protein for meat eaters in India; it costs $ 1.51 for 100 g of chicken protein and $ 1.28 for 100 g of egg protein, while the cheapest form of protein is derived from texturized soy products at $ 0.24 for 100 g protein.
USSEC India, in collaboration with the Soy Food Promotion and Welfare Association of India (SFPWA) and the Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA), recently conducted a consultation session for the development of a white paper on soy nutrition.
The purpose of this activity was to create a background paper on soy nutrition, which will include techno-commercial aspects on the topic and will serve as a reference for premier institutes dealing with nutrition; government departments, including decision-making ministries; and industry stakeholders. This reference document will be used to gather consensus on soy nutrition and approve its suitability into more government feeding and supplementary nutrition programs in India.
At the white paper session, the participants jointly developed the draft and incorporated suggestions and modifications. Various authorities will validate the document, following this exercise. A four-page summary of this background note in the form of a white paper will be published. As a final step, the document will be forwarded to government ministers and is envisioned to become the government’s reference for soy.
USSEC Director-India Food Program Ratan Sharma took cues from a white paper that was previously developed and accepted by the government for inclusion of coarse grains in supplementary nutrition, feeding, and welfare programs. Dr. Sharma feels that the white paper will potentially increase the soy utilization opportunity in feeding programs by further strengthening various norms and procedures covered under decision-making.
This program was conducted in Indore (Central India) in collaboration with SOPA and also had active participation from the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), which is the premier nutrition institute of India’s government, Department of Biotechnology, Food and Nutrition Board, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Indian Council Of Agriculture Research, North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Ltd (NERAMAC), university representatives and soy food industry partners such as ITC, Adani Wilmar, and Solidaridad. This activity was well covered by the print media and local TV channels, which helped it obtain wider publicity.
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.