News: Asia Subcontinent
USSEC, in cooperation with India’s PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recently organized a workshop on the role of soy in health and nutrition in New Delhi.
J.P. Meena, Special Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, wants to establish a partnership between soy producers and processors, given soy’s protein and other nutritional value for large-scale consumption. Mr. Meena emphasized the role of soy to combat malnutrition in India and suggested a large-scale campaign similar to the one promoting eggs to be launched for soy products as well.
USSEC Director – India Food Program Dr. Ratan Sharma spoke at the event, describing soy’s nutritional qualities: “Soy is a highly nutritious food. Soybeans are one of the very few plants that provide a high quality protein with minimum saturated fat.” He continued, “Soybeans contain all of the three macronutrients required for good nutrition, as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Soybeans help people feel better and live longer with an enhanced quality of life. Soy contains 40 percent protein, making it higher in protein than any other legumes and many animal products. Protein in just 250 grams of soybean is equivalent to protein in 3 liters of milk or 1 kilogram of mutton or 24 eggs.”
Dr. Sharma also discussed various soy products, including soy milk, tofu, soy nuggets, soy fortified wheat and graham flour, and soy-based dal analogue, saying that these products have been produced using high-end processing, and that they are tasty and safe for consumption.
He further accentuated that soy could be an excellent solution to reduce the protein calorie malnutrition in India and that the Indian government should include soy as a main nutritional ingredient for various supplementary nutrition and welfare programs. Dr. Sharma pointed out that soy-fortified wheat flour can be widely used in the public distribution system and that India imports more than five million metric tons (MMT) of dal (lentils) from other countries. He believes that the government should promote soy-based dal analogue because it is less expensive than traditional dal and superior in nutrition.
John Slette, Senior Attaché for Agriculture Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in India, emphasized the role of soy in food and nutrition security in the country. Mr. Slette was very positive about the efforts that the Indian government is making to fight malnutrition and suggested that soy products could be a cheaper source of protein for India’s population.
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 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.
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.
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.
The Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers Association of India (CLFMA), the national trade association that primarily focuses on livestock and poultry feed industry, has extended its interests to aquaculture and requested USSEC to design and implement an aquaculture workshop for entrepreneurs in East India.
Kolkata, situated in the province of West Bengal, is an area that depends on fish for daily food, a food habit primarily driven by culture. West Bengal produces about 1.58 million tons of fish per annum and is second only to the province of Andhra Pradesh, which produces about 2 million tons of fish annually. While Andhra Pradesh uses 35,000 metric tons (MT) of fish feed every month, West Bengal uses only about 3,500 MT per month indicating the need for the adoption of feed technology and the use of advanced fish farming technology. With this objective in mind, CLFMA and USSEC decided to collaborate on a workshop to influence change in market behavior and enhance the use of soy-based fish feed in the region.
USSEC’s feed program has listed capacity utilization of feed mills through market diversification and species diversification as its priorities – the outcome is envisioned as increased soy utilization due to increased feed marketing, says Dr. Vijay Anand who heads the feed/soy meal program for India. The agreement for this event was that USSEC would plan content and provide resource people required for the workshop while CLFMA would bear venue/event expenses, and would be responsible for inviting potential entrepreneurs from the region. Through this arrangement, the industry trade body contributed 50 percent of the funding for the event and also provided office and manpower support that helped extend the marketing reach.
Six renowned resource professionals directly connected with the fish and shrimp sectors of the aquaculture industry were engaged by USSEC to impart technology and trade messages to the 96 entrepreneurs who attended the interactive workshop. Officials of the state government took keen interest in the workshop to grasp technologies and absorb them into government support programs.
This is the second workshop that USSEC has conducted in the region in the past two years and since then, there have been significant inroads made in the utilization of soy-based fish feeds, said R. Umakanth, aquaculture consultant for USSEC India. Deliberations and recommendations made at this workshop further motivated the industry to advance its aquaculture status to produce more fish and shrimp in the region. Dr. Anand adds that collaborating with CLFMA on various soy utilization aspects is advantageous to USSEC because it is a trade body that frequently works with the Government of India and is directly associated with utilization and promotion of the animal feed industry in India.
USSEC’s national event, “Soy Partnership Summit (SPS) 2015,” was conducted on July 23 and 24 in Indore, India.
SPS has shown positive growth in popularity and commercial utility with unique features added to the event each year. Voluntary industry participation increased by 34 percent compared to last year’s event with approximately 400 people attending the main event on July 23. About 230 participants from 17 different Indian provinces comprised of soy buyers representing the utilization sector, mainly from animal feeds, attended.
The sellers’ side, comprised of soy crushers and traders, trust this event and has pitched in strongly with a 118 percent increase ($35,000) in funding support compared to $16,000 in 2014. For the first time, SOPA (Soybean Processors Association of India) hosted the opening dinner, along with providing additional support.
Participants provided feedback on five utility avenues: new knowledge received at the USSEC event; ample opportunity to express problems and seek solutions; networking heavily during the event; initiating trade talks and start booking soy meal orders; and, most of all, having access to a valuable, national data base of buyers’ and sellers’ contacts.
American Soybean Association (ASA) director Bret Davis and United Soybean Board (USB) director C.D. Simmons participated in this event, along with USSEC Director International Program Strategy & Research/Regional Director – ASC Drew Klein and USSEC Marketing Director – Animal Nutrition/Meal Pam Helmsing. Scott Sindelar, Foreign Agricultural Affairs (FAS) Minister-Counselor for Agricultural Affairs in India, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agriculture specialist Amit Aradhey stressed various aspects of U.S Soy and agriculture. Mr. Davis discussed the quality grading of U.S Soy and Mr. Simmons spoke on the sustainability of U.S Soy. These speeches gave participants a framework in which to compare advanced farming and trade process of the U.S as compared to India. The delegates from the U.S Soy industry inaugurated the event in the traditional Indian manner of lighting a lamp. The USSEC team participated with complete involvement, made impactful presentations that were appreciated by the industry and interacted with an array of industry contacts on the utilization as well as the soy production sectors, giving the event a strong U.S Soy emphasis.
WISHH consultant Masum Reja from Bangladesh and former USSEC consultant Dr. Athula Mahagamage of Sri Lanka spoke about U.S Soy trade at SPS 2015. They expressed how their countries are gradually changing their stands on sourcing U.S meal as opposed to meal from their immediate neighbor, India.
The SPS featured a global supply and demand (S&D) update that spelled out trade flows and global trends with the objective of aligning the soy stakeholders to international trade practices because there is always a disconnect between international and domestic prices of soy meal. USSEC consultant Paul Smolen talked about global S&D in great detail.
For the first time in India, USSEC gave a presentation on the “Science and Safety of Agri-Biotechnology.” The information and approaches to biotech aspects was received with full interest and understanding and this is a significant, positive move. Dr. C. S. Prakash, professor of plant genetics, biotechnology and genomics at Tuskegee University, cleared up myths and apprehensions that many Indians hold on biotech.
Two former USSEC program directors for the feed and food sectors, Dr. Dinesh Bhosale and Dr. Suresh Itapu, spoke on the current status and future potential for soy in animal feed and human food applications in India. These presentations elucidated pathways that have to be adopted by the Indian industry for building businesses using soy as an important protein input.
USSEC feed program consultants Dr. Vijay Anand and Dr. Pawan Kumar shared the index of industry interest on SPS that has developed year after year since its conceptualization in 2009. The second part of their presentation, “Soy Industry to our Knowledge,” aligned with facts and observations that were true to the industry. These in turn prompted discussions and formed the basis for analysis and understanding the soy industry and trade in India.
The post lunch session titled “The Soy Talk” is what many participants most look forward to: an opportunity to speak out and express their feelings on trade requirements. An almost full house and a 25-member panel comprised of industry stalwarts with experience debated on 14 different soy topics. The main concerns were S&D, price, quality, logistics and the need for the soy industry to recognize and cater to domestic protein requirements. Before the deliberations began, Mr. Sindelar addressed the audience, letting them know how the USDA works with Indian agriculture and trade to help India progress in different ways.
The event’s second day started with a motivational session where renowned writer Soma Valliappan presented his impressions on SPS. Following this session, and throughout the two days, buyers and sellers were networking to discuss trade and carry out their business. Some of them also engaged with crushers to go on field trips to their soy crushing facilities and arrive at soy buying agreements.
Many key organizations known for their trade strength and functions were part of the more than 400 participants at SPS 2015, including USGC; ADM; Bunge India; Cargill India; Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers Association of India (CLFMA); Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEAI); Soy Food Promotion and Welfare Association (SFPWA); National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC); Poultry Federation of India (PFI); Rabobank; Godrej Agrovet Ltd; Suguna Foods and Feeds; Venkateshwara Hatcheries; CP India; Indian Tobacco Company (ITC); Ruchi Soy; Adani Wilmar; Vippy Soya; and many more. Winning confidence and soliciting support from top ranking industry members is certainly an essential part of SPS that will help to foster trade and posterity.
USSEC was recently invited by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry to participate in its “Make in India” food processing conference. “Make in India” is a new, major national program of the Indian government and PHD is one of India’s top commerce and industry chambers, working closely with the Indian government to move their commercial and industrial agenda forward. This program was held in Madhya Pradesh, which is considered the soy bowl of India.
“Make in India” is the agenda of India’s current prime minister with a focus on inviting domestic and international investment in different areas including the food processing sector. The objective is to facilitate and strengthen domestic industry, create employment opportunities, and attract foreign direct investment (FDI).
USSEC suggested that a session on soy could be added to this conference. USSEC Director – India Soy Food Program Ratan Sharma participated as a speaker, delivering a lecture on the potential of soy food processing in India. In his speech, Dr. Sharma elaborated on soy food business opportunities, the role of soy in the food and nutritional security of India, and convinced the audience that soy food processing needs to be organized in India for India as it is most needed for Indians’ own food and feed uses, rather than selling it to other countries.
Dr. Sharma noted that it was encouraging to see two of India’s top food processors telling the panel and SOPA (Soy Oil Processors Association of India) officer that because India is an edible oil deficit country, they should import soybeans from countries where oil is plentiful. The processors explained that the value derived from the domestic market will be much better than the export, especially in the case of soy.
Dr. Sharma had the opportunity to personally meet the food processing minister (minister of state in Modi government). During a long conversation, Dr. Sharma discussed the present soy situation in India and the dependency on exports because soy processing is no longer a lucrative business. He suggested that her ministry could organize the soy processing business in India to meet the country’s own requirement for food and nutritional security and for poultry, aqua and animal utilization purposes. The minister assured Dr. Sharma that she will discuss this matter with the prime minister and will try to work on this issue from her ministry level as well. She covered these soy-related issues in her inaugural speech at the conference and also to the media, saying “capturing more and more value in India is the real meaning of ‘Make in India.’”
“Make in India” was well-covered by print and electronic media throughout the country.
The second “Make in India” food processing event was organized in Delhi by the CII (Confederation of Indian Industries), which is another influential chamber of commerce and industry. The cabinet minister of food processing was the chief guest. In a short meeting with the minister during the conference, Dr. Sharma discussed multiple taxation and the product approval problems which the soy industry is facing. The minister assured him that he will look into the multiple taxation issues in food products, especially with nutritional ingredients such as soy.
Scott Sindelar, FAS Minister-Counselor for Agricultural Affairs in India, gave a speech, mentioning that considering its oil as well as food and nutritional security, India should not depend only on its own produced soybeans but should go for imported alternatives, and he proposed that the U.S. is the best option for this.
The managing director of the SSP Pvt. Ltd. also emphasized the import of soybeans to meet Indian oil and food- and feed-related demands and to generate employment. SSP was one of the major sponsors of this event. During the session with the chief secretary (a senior Government of India (GOI) officer) of the food processing ministry, Dr. Sharma discussed soy-related issues, which the chief secretary discussed and noted.
This event was a strategic effort by USSEC to mobilize GOI resources toward organizing India’s soy food industry. The participation of FAS and its recommendations about the import of U.S. Soy made a great impact on the overall efforts and the future strategies of USSEC in India.
A soyfood supplier in Bhopal, India requested technical assistance from the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) to help them launch their soymilk powder for India’s school lunch program. India’s feeding and social welfare program covers more than 240 million beneficiaries. The Government of India awarded the bid to supply soymilk powder to one million children in government schools in Bhopal and nearby districts to Bio-Nutrients India. Using funds from MAP program F15AXASC99, USSEC will help the company in all aspects of this project from the procurement of quality soybeans to the production of quality soymilk powder and its further value addition. Additionally, USSEC will work to fortify the soymilk powder with mineral and vitamin premixes to enhance its nutritional value for the program as well as for general consumption. USSEC’s efforts have already helped to make soymilk powder available across the country in retail stores. Soymilk and tofu are flourishing soyfood sectors in India with more than 850 soymilk companies in India working on a small, medium and large scale production, consuming a large amount of whole soybeans. With no food utilization specific variety of soybeans currently grown in India, USSEC will promote food utilization specific non-GM U.S. soybeans suitable for the production of whole bean based soy products for food grade crush to produce soy flour in India. If India’s per capita direct consumption reaches the U.S. level, it would require 3,600,000 metric tons of soy or about 40% of India’s production. India’s huge population gives the U.S. soy industry leverage in direct consumption of soy in products such as soymilk.