McCranie: India’s need for poultry bodes well for soybean meal demand

April 30, 2024

A South Dakota soybean grower recently traveled halfway around the world to build export demand for U.S. poultry, a huge consumer of soybean meal. Mike McCranie, a director on the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council board, also holds a place on the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), attended USAPEEC’s strategic planning meeting in Delhi, India.

"The reason they picked India was a lot of things had happened in the past year that made it look like maybe there’s a good chance that we can get an increase of some exports into India,” McCranie told the South Dakota Soybean Network.

Because of high tariffs on broiler chickens, USAPEEC’s export promotion efforts have been concentrated on turkeys, tariffs on which have been recently reduced from 30 percent, down to five percent. The target demographic for turkey consumer promotion, according to McCranie, is 35 years of age and younger.

“That age group that’s 35 years old and younger, they’re not vegetarian,” said McCranie. “They like to eat poultry. That’s the number one most consumed meat in India. Turkey has been an area that we’ve been making some headway in before they even dropped the tariffs, and now we feel like that’s an area that we can really expand on with those exports to India.”

India has a protein deficit, McCranie explained, making it ripe for raising soybean meal-hungry turkeys. Whether imported or not, McCranie says India recognizes its own protein need.

“At the end of our strategic planning meeting, we actually signed a memorandum of understanding with the poultry producers of India,” he said, “to increase the protein availability for consumers in India.”

India does not allow imports of genetically modified soybeans. There have been times when India’s poultry producers can’t get enough soybean meal and have successfully lobbied their government to make temporary allowances for GM soybean meal only. Although there is no indication from India, McCranie’s observation is that there’s at least the possibility that rules governing the subcontinent’s importation of genetically modified soybeans could change.

“They’ve hit a plateau in their production,” he said. “They can’t seem to get passed a certain level now in the production of soybeans, so if their poultry, which it has been doing, keeps increasing at seven to eight percent a year, that is going to create an opportunity.”

There’s more conversation about India with Mike McCranie on an upcoming edition of The Soybean Pod.