Demand for soyabean as food and animal feed is rising in India: Scott Sindelar, Minister Counselor, Agriculture Affairs, USDA

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Delhi: A conference on the “Soy: Avenues and Opportunities was organised by the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) by involving its various stakeholders from the industry, government, academia, agri policy experts, US department of Agriculture (USDA and National Institute of Nutrition etc at Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi.

Addressing on this occasion Mr. Scott Sindelar, the Minister Counselor of Agriculture Affairs at the American Embassy, New Delhi Said” If India wants to increase production of soyabean to meet domestic demand, it should allow use of innovative technologies, including genetically modified organism or GMO or allow imports from global market”.

He said the existing processing capacity can be utilised by importing oilseed and highlighted that India’s neighbour like Bangladesh is buying from overseas market. India is fifth largest producer of soyabean in the world with production of around 10-12 million tonnes, while the US at the top with 120 million tonnes output.

 

Mr. Vijay Sardana, an agriculture policy and trade expert spoke about addressing the nutritional challenges and creating employment through soy food business. Vijay replied the query on the GST and the regulatory matters. Dr. Prabodh Halde, head regulatory affairs, Marico covered the regulatory norms on the edible oil and other processed food products. Dr. Jyoti Prakash Tamang, Dean Sikkim University talked about various fermented soy food product and its commercialization in India. Mr. D N Pathak, Executive Director of the Soy Processors Association of India (SOPA) stated that soy food is one of the fastest growing businesses in India with an annual growth of 8 to 10%. Mr. Pathak advocated that our government should consider including soy in the school feeding and social welfare programs by framing proper policy on this. Mr. Indranil Chatterjee from the DuPont Nutrition presented about the protein rich foods and beverages made by using soy protein isolates and concentrates.

 

Speaking on the role soy can play in health and nutritional security of India, Dr. Ratan Sharma; head Soy Food Program of the USSEC stated that Soybean is one of the very few plants those provide a high quality protein with minimum saturated fat. Soybean helps people feel better and live longer with an enhanced quality of life. Soybeans contain all the three macronutrients required for good nutrition, as well as fiber, vitamins, minerals. Soybean protein provides all the essential amino acids in the amounts needed for human health. Protein in just 250 grams of soy bean is equivalent to protein in 3 liters of milk or 1 kg of mutton or 24 no’s of eggs. In addition to being a rich source of nutrients, soybean has a number of phytochemicals (isoflavones), which offer health benefits along with soy protein. Soy protein and isoflavones together contribute to a number of health benefits such as, cancer prevention, cholesterol reduction, keeping heart healthy, combating osteoporosis and menopause regulation. Being low in glycaemic index soy plays a very important role in maintaining the low sugar levels in diabetics.
Dr. Sharma discussed about various soy products including of the soymilk, tofu, soy nuggets, soy fortified wheat flour and gram flour, soy based Dal Analogue, and suggested that these products have been made by using high end processing technology, tasty and highly safe for consumption. He further emphasised that soy could be a wonderful solution to reduce the protein calorie malnutrition in India, and our government should include soy as a main nutritional ingredient for various supplementary nutrition and welfare programs to ensure a healthy young generation.

Dr. Sharma further explained about the nutritional quality of the soy oil from USA. Besides the regular nutritious soy oil US has developed high oleic soy oil. High oleic soy oil is being very popular as industry preferred substitute for partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and are used in all manners of processed foods especially the snack foods for deep frying. High oleic soy oil is free from trans fats as well as lower in saturated fat and contains three times more of beneficial monounsaturated fatty acid compared to conventional soy oil.

As per Dr. sharma recently in August 2017 US Food and Drug Administration FDA approved Bunge North America’s petition for a qualified health claim linking soybean oil consumption to reduced risk of heart disease. Soybean oil is the US’ most commonly used ingredient and top dietary source of polyunsaturated fats. Soy oil is the second largest edible oil used in India. Soybean oil is considered heart-healthy oil as it’s cholesterol-free and low in saturated fatty acids – it contains 61 % poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Two fat components essential for health and wellbeing, linoleic and linolenic acids, are also found in the right proportions in soybean oil. It is also a good source of vitamin E. Like fish oils, soybean oil contains omega-3, known to be protective against heart disease and cancer.

Discussing about the Soy food business opportunities in India Dr. Sharma very clearly mentioned that raw material plays a major role to produce a quality product delivering proper nutrients and making a tasty product. Food specialty soybeans are not grown in India limiting the growth of soy food sector in lack of desired quality product with limited value addition possibilities. Dr. Sharma highly recommended the food specialty soybeans from USA which produces an excellent quality soy food with much better acceptability of the end product and excellent value addition possibility when compare with the Indian soybeans.

Recently soy food processing has been immersed as a very good source of creating the employment opportunities on a small, medium and large scale. India is the fifth largest producer of soybeans but in lack of awareness on its nutrition and the proper processing technologies this product is not getting the acceptance in the Indian diet. Although the soy food processing sector is growing at a faster rate of 10% annually but still needs to develop with a pace to bridge the protein gap of the country.

This program was attended by a large number of people from the soy food industry, trade associations, nutrition professionals, scientists and professionals from the multinational companies from all over the country along with the representatives from the press and media. The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) is a dynamic partnership of key stakeholders representing U.S. soybean producers, commodity shippers, merchandisers, allied agribusinesses and agricultural organizations. Through a global network of international offices and strong support in the U.S., USSEC provides trade and technical services as well as market access support in order to build a preference for U.S. soy and soybean products.

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