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Business

Soy food body seeks duty free import of 'food speciality' soybeans from US

IANS | June 14, 2021 06:36 AM

NEW DELHI: The Soy Food Promotion & Welfare Association has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the soy food processing industry to import 50, 000 metric tons of the food specialty soybeans from the US on a 'zero' duty under tariff rate quota(TRQ).

In a statement, the industry body said that soy is not a staple food in India, hence the requirement to process and serve the best optimal quality to customers is paramount.

With specialized modern food processing techniques and scientific interventions, soy food companies have improved quality, but due to a lack of affordable, high quality raw ingredients, we feel challenged for new growth opportunities, it added.

K. Sarat Chandra Kumar, President, Soy Food Promotion and Welfare Association said: "Indian soybeans are oil and meal centric, suitable for animal utilization. There are no food specialty soybeans grown in the country, thus the supply of the same does not exist."

Kumar noted that while all Indian beans are non-GM, they are also treated as commodity beans regardless of the end use, be it in the food or feed industry.

When soybeans are needed for food applications, Indian producer's grade and select the best beans from the general lots and sell them at a premium price. Unfortunately, this does not qualify to satisfy the specialty food characteristics and do not match up with the quality standards and expectations for producing retail end products the consumer's desire, according to him.

As a result, many Indian soy food processors are now forced to shut down, he added.

Noting that soy is the safest, most affordable, and highest quality source of protein in India, Sumit Agarwal, Vice President, Soy Food Promotion and Welfare Association said that with the lack of suitable food grade specialty soybeans, the soy food processors are significantly constrained.

"This is limiting the business opportunities, job creation, and revenue generation, as well as depriving the general masses in India from an excellent, affordable, nutritional protein source that consumers need and manufacturers are ready and able to supply, " Agarwal said.

He added: "In consideration of our consumers and soy food businesses, we have respectfully requested our Prime Minister to allow the soy food processing industry to import 50, 000 metric tons of the food specialty soybeans from the US on a 'zero' duty under tariff rate quota (TRQ).

This will help consumers enjoy a delicious, healthy, protein rich food source in addition to assisting soy food companies to not only sustain, but grow their businesses, all good for the Indian economy and the people, Agarwal said.

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