India’s soya meal consumption is poised to grow at 7% CAGR until 2025, leading to consumption surpassing 9.5M tonnes, mainly driven by rising demand from the domestic poultry industry, according to a new report from Rabobank.

While the country wascurrently able to meet its soya meal demand, fluctuationsin domestic production remaineda concern for future self-sufficiencyand the country may need to turn to more imports to meet its needs, said Rohit Dhanda, Rabobank analyst of grains and oilseeds.

“However, one of the challenges that India faces is its reluctance to import genetically modified soyabeans. Only 12% of global soybeans are non-GM in nature (including India’s own production), and their production is scattered across the globe, including Argentina, China, Russia and Africa.

“Depending on supplies in individual years, importing such big volumes of non-GM soyabeans or soya meal could also be prohibitively expensive for India, due to the attached price premium compared to GM soybeans,” the 25 September Rabobank report said.

“Structural policy changes will be needed to increase India’s domestic soyabean production in order to fulfil growing domestic soya meal demand and to avoid a future import situation.”

The report said that soya meal consumption in India increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% between 2007 and 2017, rising to 5.4M tonnes in 2017 from 800,000 tonnes in 2007.

“Soya meal is the major source of feed protein for poultry,” Dhanda said, adding that soyabean farmers would need better seed technology and agronomic practices in order to stabilise domestic production.

“Apart from the possibility of blending soya meal with other oilseed meals, the fortification of compound poultry feed with amino acids to replace soya meal as a protein source is also an option — but so far, this is an undeveloped market in India,” he said. “Therefore, Rabobank expects India’s poultry industry to remain largely dependent on soya meal as a protein source in the near future.”