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U.S. Soybean Producers Eye Indian Market

Grower representatives say soybean and soymeal demand is rising in India, and U.S. and three South American countries are partnering to take advantage of the Indian soy market.

Four countries accounting for over 90% of the world's soybean output are cooperating to build soybean demand abroad, starting with India. The U.S., Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay sent industry representatives to India this week to explore export opportunities there.

U.S. Soybean Export Council chief executive Dan Duran says in a Dow Jones release that although India currently imports hardly any soybeans, "Even if a provision is kept for annual increases in local output, the demand for soybeans and soy products such as soymeal is expected to outstrip supply soon."

India, Asia's largest soymeal exporter by volume, has exported 3.4 million metric tons of soymeal in the financial year ending in March 2006, the most ever, according to India's Solvent Extractors Association. However, India's poultry industry has driven up soymeal demand there.

"The land available for additional production is limited while demand is on the rise," says Curt Raasch, United Soybean Board chairman, in a Dow Jones release. "Imports may happen in three years time."

Although India's poultry industry took a hit early this year with the discovery of an incidence of bird flu in the western part of the country, the demand for poultry feed has returned to normal since India was declared free of bird flu in August.

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