Imports of soybean meal drop to lowest level since 2010-11.
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. —Pakistan’s shift from an importer of soybean meal to an importer of soybeans continues following adjustments to the tariff schedule two years ago. While soybean imports were slightly lower than expected, they reached a record 1.1 million tonnes in 2015-16, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said in an Oct. 31 report. Imports of soybean meal dropped to just 370,000 tonnes, the lowest level since 2010-11.

The government of Pakistan’s two-year-old decision to adjust the tariff structure to discourage imports of soybean meal and encourage imports of soybeans is, for the most part, playing out as expected. Based on industry import and vessel arrival data, 2015-16 imports were somewhat less than expected, but still exceeded 1 million tonnes for the first time ever. Rapeseed (Canola) imports were down slightly from expectations based on industry arrival and vessel data, but increased significantly from a year ago.

Combined consumption of soybean meal and rapeseed meal increased marginally in 2015-16 and fell below expectations. This was something of a surprise given the reported growth in the poultry and dairy sectors.

Imports of soybean meal continue to fall under the current tariff structure and the oilseed and feed sectors appear to be adjusting to the shift from imported to domestically produced soybean meal, the FAS said. Some in the feed industry have raised concerns about the quality of domestic soybean meal, and the industry is working to better understand crushing and production processes. According to the report, the increase in rapeseed meal availability is expected to lead to record consumption, a factor that tempered soybean meal consumption and appears to have caused some producers to lower the presence of protein meals in their rations, increasing their use of wheat, maize and rice. While not typical substitutes for protein meals, on the margins, Pakistani farmers have a number of feed input options.