Govt should cut import duty on food-grade soybean for soy food export: SFPWA

An industry body has urged the government to lower import duties soybean From the current 45 percent to 10-20 percent so that specialty food soybeans are imported by processors, which could help them export processed products to Southeast Asian countries.

After a conference on ‘Soy Foods: Sustainable Protein for Health and Wellness’ in Indore, the Soybean Foods and Welfare Promotion Organizing Organization (SFPWA) issued a charter of recommendations which include a reduction in import duties.

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Earlier, the import duty was 30 percent on soybeans, which was raised to 45 percent two years ago, said Ratan Sharma, country director of the US Soybean Export Council. He said that food-grade soybeans, grown in the United States and Canada, could be allowed at reduced duties as raw materials to help processors export soybean food items.

He added that soybeans, which are grown in India, are mainly used to extract edible oil and food products. However, due to the agro-climatic conditions in the United States and Canada, there are specific types of soybeans that are preferred by processors in China and Southeast Asian countries for the manufacture of food products.

He added that if raw materials are available at a cheaper rate, then India can certainly compete in those markets.

series of recommendations

Recognizing the potential of the soybean foods industry, conference attendees put forward a series of recommendations urging government support to foster growth, innovation and entrepreneurship within the sector, said Sumit Agarwal, SFPWA President.

Among other recommendations, the industry body said there should be quality standards for food soy products and appropriate labels, and clear guidelines. It also called for its candidate as a member of the standards committees for soy foods. Moreover, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Any inconsistencies or gaps in the current Tofu standards shall be identified and corrected.

It sought to include soy protein ingredients in Production incentive (PLI) to stimulate its use in various food processing processes.

Sharma said these recommendations have the potential to boost entrepreneurship and promote healthy diets in India.