ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Pakistan is forecast to import a record 2.6 million tonnes of soybeans in 2018-19, according to a Nov. 28 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

It would top last year’s soybean import record by 400,000 tonnes, the USDA said.

“Pakistan’s role as a major importer of soybeans continued in 2017-18, with imports rising to a record 2.2 million tonnes, up from zero only a few years ago,” the USDA said. “The low tariff on soybeans versus soybean meal has been instrumental in the shift, thereby increasing throughput in the domestic crushing sector.

“Additionally, the development and modernization of Pakistan’s poultry and dairy sectors are generating new demand for high-protein feed ingredients as inclusion of soybean meal in rations increases and overall demand rises.”

The USDA noted that soybean meal imports dropped drastically with just 3,552 tonnes of imports in 2017-18, compared with 370,000 tonnes during the same period in 2016-17.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s 2017-18 rapeseed imports are down 39% from the previous year at 724,000 tonnes.