21st Feb, 2006: NEW DELHI - Soybean producers hope that the domestic demand for poultry feed will not be impacted if the bird flu is contained in Nandurbar in Maharashtra.
Even if the H5N1 avian influenza does spread beyond Nandurbar, the dip in demand for poultry feed is not expected to be too serious in the long run.
What is giving them a degree of comfort is the large export demand this year, far in excess of the domestic demand, according to Rajesh Agarwal, chairman of the Indore-based Soybean Processors Association of India.
"If the bird flu is contained or restricted to only some of the villages, it would not have much impact on the poultry industry and various suppliers of feed ingredients," said Agarwal.
"Only if the bird flu spreads widely across the country are the domestic poultry and feed suppliers likely to be affected."
The soybean industry supplies more than 50 per cent of its soybean meal to the international market. There is good commitment for exports for the next two months.
"As against the domestic demand of two million tonnes poultry feed this year, we expect the exports to reach 2.7 million tonnes. Already our exports have reached 1.5 million tonnes till January end and expect it to go up to 2.1 million tonnes by March end," Agarwal said.
"The Indian soybean industry, which is supplying soybean meal to the poultry industry, is unlikely to be affected in medium to long term. However, there may be postponement of demand by the poultry industry, temporarily, in case bird flu spreads to larger areas."