A sharp decrease in ex-mill soyabean prices has worried growers in Maharashtra ahead of the harvest season. While the oilseed is trading above its government-declared Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 3,950 per quintal, over the past few days, soyabean prices have seen a decrease of Rs 2,000 per quintal with a further dip not being ruled out.
Import of genetically modified soyameal and reduction in import duty of crude and refined soya oil are being touted as the main reasons for this price dip.
Over the past few months, soyabean prices had touched a historic high with average traded prices in Latur’s mandi crossing Rs 10,000 per quintal. Ex-mill prices in districts like Nanded had even touched Rs 11,000 per quintal.
This was mainly due to the shortage of the oilseed, both in domestic and international markets. Increase in price of the oilseed had led to an all-time high price of deoiled soya meal cake, which acts as an important protein source for poultry feed.
Multiple representations by the poultry industry had led to the government allowing import of 12 lakh tonnes of GM soyameal. This would be the first time that the government had allowed import of GM material to be used in feed industry.
Imports were to reach India either by sea or the land port of Petropole by October 31. Of the 12 lakh tonnes, at least 4 lakh tonnes would reach Indian ports by the given deadline, industry insiders had said. But since then, the government had allowed shipments to reach India by January 31, 2022, while the last date for deals to be finalised was October 31.
Given the extended time period, the poultry industry now feels that all the 12 lakh tonnes will land in India.
Industry insiders say the majority of the deals that have been signed are for soyameal originating from Argentina.
Till date, deals of 8 lakh tonnnes have been inked and 80 per cent of this is expected to land in India in the next
few weeks. Meal from Bangladesh would have taken a smaller time to arrive by road but it did not have much excess to export. So, Vietnam and Argentina have emerged as the major source for imports. Landed cost of imported soyameal is around Rs 55-60/kg while ex-mill price of domestic produce is around Rs 80-85/kg.
However, growers have expressed concern about the constant decrease in soyameal prices. At Latur’s wholesale mandi, the average traded price of the oilseed is Rs 8,200 per quintal — a Rs 2,000 per quintal dip since the Rs 10,000 per quintal prices the oilseed had reached.
The dip is more at the mill gates of Nanded, Latur, Osmanabad and Akola, where at present farmers are able to sell their produce for Rs 6,000-6,300 per quintal as against the Rs 10,000-11,000 per quintal mark.
Oil millers at Latur’s market say the present dip is mostly due to the extension of import window and also the reduction in duties for import of edible oil.
Manikrao Kadam, farmer leader from Parbhani district, has demanded an inquiry into this price dip. “The domestic harvest is yet to arrive, but there is a drastic drop in prices. This has to be investigated,” he said.