Imports of soyabeans and soya products to Spain average around 6M tonnes/year, driven by demand for feed ingredients for the country’s livestock sector, according to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In addition, the country’s limited oilseed production made Spain one of the EU’s leading importers of oilseeds and related products, the USDA’s Spain: Soybean and Products Market Outlook report said.

Although Spain’s soyabean meal import market is mainly dominated by Argentina, most of the supply of soyabeans for crushing is sourced from Brazil, followed by the USA, according to the 7 June report.

Oilseed production in Spain was limited to sunflowerseed, which was mainly processed to extract oil for use in the food sector, followed by much lower volumes of rapeseed, which was normally exported to neighbouring Portugal or France.

As Spain produced just less than 5,000 tonnes/year of soyabeans – most of it for the food sector – the country needed to import almost all its protein feed ingredients, the report said.

Spain’s soyabean crushing capacity, which totalled nearly 3.5M tonnes, comprised four dedicated crushing plants. Three of these were managed by Bunge (in Barcelona, Bilbao and Cartagena) and the fourth by Cargill (in Barcelona).

Accounting for 20% of total EU soyabean imports, Spain is the third largest soyabean-crushing member state, after the Netherlands and Germany, which account for 25% and 21% of EU soyabean imports respectively, according to the report.