USSEC’s Soy Partnership Summit 2015 Brings Indian Soy Stakeholders Together
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.