India's soybean crop area stood at 11.03 million hectares (27.3 million acres) against 12.18 million hectares last year, according to the agriculture ministry's latest update. This year's area is 6.3 per cent more than the average area of 10.38 million hectares for the past five years, according to the ministry's data.
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Soy meal is the world's most important vegetable protein feed source accounting for nearly 65 % of World protein feed demand. About 98 percent of soy meal is used as an animal feed ingredient, with the remainder used in human foods such as bakery ingredients and meat substitutes.
Soybean meal is the product remaining after extracting most of the oil from whole soybeans. The oil may be removed by solvent extraction or by an expeller process in which the beans are heated and squeezed.
Soybean meal is considered a premium product because of its high digestibility, high energy content and consistency.
Soymeal is the most popular protein meal of the world. It is estimated that the total production in 2003 was around 132 million tons. United States (33-35 million tons), China (20-22 million tons), Brazil (20-22 million tons), Argentina (18-21 million tons), India (3-5 million tons) are the major producers of soymeal in the world.
In US, India, China crop starts arriving from Aug-Sept, while it starts from Jan-Feb in S. America. The annual global trade in soymeal is around 45-48 million tons.
The major exporters are Argentina (19-20 million tons), Brazil (14-15 million tons), USA (4-6 million tons), India (3-4 million tons) and EU (2 million tons).
The major importers are EU(20-22 million tons), Central Europe (3.5 million tons), Thailand (2 million tons), South Korea (1.5 million tons), Indonesia (1.5-2 million tons), Japan (1-1.5 million tons), Philippines (1-1.5 million tons) and Canada (1-1.5 million tons).
India is one of the major exporters of soymeal to the Asian countries. South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Japan are some of the major importers of soymeal from the country. India typically exports around 65% of the country's soymeal production currently. Soymeal accounted for 84% of the total edible oilseed meal exports from the country.
This leaves around 1-2 million tons for the consumption of the domestic poultry and cattle feed industry.
India, does not import soymeal to meet the requirements of the domestic feed industry, as the price equation inclusive of transports does not work in favour of imports.