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Great Opportunity in supply of Protein Meal to India by US

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

The current trade imbalance of agricultural products favours India, but the US is not looking at the issue now. “We want to build trust and we are optimistic about relationship with India,” Ted A McKinney, Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, US Department of Agriculture met The `Agriculture World` and added ``India’s export of agricultural products to the US was about $2.6 billion while America exported farm commodities worth $1.6 billion to India in 2017, he said. McKinney also suggested that India should follow the Codex standards, which are followed globally, while setting the import quality parameters for agricultural products. He was briefing Media during his visit to India.

McKinney further added that US saw "great opportunity" in the supply of protein meal to India. Explaining The US expects more export of protein meal such as soybean and DDG obtained from corn to India besides reduction in agricultural tariff. He further given the explanation that DDG (dried distillers’ grains) is the animal feed produced by U.S. ethanol plants is replacing even more corn and soybean meal in livestock and poultry feed rations than previously thought. The report’s findings have important implications for discussions regarding ethanol’s impact on feed grains availability, feed prices, land use effects and the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of producing corn ethanol. And we are happy to provide ingredients, highly nutritious protein."

"We hear it from India's own corporate community. Good examples might be feed-meals. They tell us they need more protein, mostly DDGs, which is yellow part of the corn comes during ethanol process in US," he said

"Your own farmers want to produce their own poultry, dairy, pork, beef. He continued disseminated  his experience and knowledge to the Media People presented.

According to the report by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), “Findings demonstrate that, in aggregate (including major types of livestock/poultry), a metric ton of DDG can replace, on average, 1.22 metric tons of feed consisting of corn and soybean meal in the U.S.”

McKinney further added that soymeal and DDG obtained from Genetically Modified crops "productive" source of protein, he said the entire world including Europe and Japan had concluded that DDG was not "living mala-fide organism".

Citing  the example of US exports of apple which have been growing ever since it was allowed. He wanted India to reduce the import tariff on soybean meal, which is currently 15 percent . India also has restriction on soybean meal if it is made from genetically modified (GM) crop. A small quantity of the feed meal is already imported from Ukraine. According to industry data, India’s soybean meal exports are likely to drop to 1.25 million tonne in 2017-18 (October-September) from about 2 million tonne a year ago.

On asking about the Indian Government Agenda about Doubling the Farmers Income by the `Agriculture World` he replied that Seeking lower agriculture tariffs for American items, he said it would be in best interest of Indian consumers as well as farmers.

"Based on our experiences, tariffs are not the best way to live up farmers. We do believe (lowering) it will benefit Indian farmers and consumers, who are looking at more purchase of DDG and soybean meal and number of other products," he said.

He further said that US had stopped subsidies to its farmers and tariffs were "problematic most of the times".

"We do not give subsidies anymore despite what many people think around the world. We have safety nets, insurance net. That is self-funded by farmers. But tariff is not good thing if you are in free trade and if you want highest quality, lowest cost product," he said.

McKinney also said there is a market for corn-based DDG in India and he wants to facilitate its export. But India needs to liberalize its rules on import of GM crop-based products. He also said without the GM technology it would not have been possible for India to become what it is now in cotton production. India is the world’s largest cotton producer.

In November 2017, McKinney traveled to India on his first international trade mission. The 50-person trade delegation, which sought to advance the trade policy relationship between the U.S. and India, held over 465 business to business meetings while abroad. The meeting with the Media was his second meeting on Wednesday (21st February 201) prior to his tour to US and other countries.

McKinney worked for 19 years with Dow Agro Sciences, He has served on the National FFA Conventions Local Organizing Committee, Indiana State Fair Commission, International Food Information Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, International Federation of Animal Health, and the Purdue Dean of Agriculture Advisory Committee.

In view of his knowledge and experience In July 2017, President Donald Trump nominated McKinney to be the Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. At the time of his nomination, McKinney had been serving as director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on October 3, 2017. McKinney is the first person to hold the post of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs since the position was created by Congress in 2014.

At his confirmation hearing, McKinney said he anticipated "investing significant time in many foreign countries...building trust, opening doors for farmers and processors, removing trade barriers, and otherwise being what I hope to be known as: a high-trust and high-delivery person of our ag portfolio." United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said McKinney will "wake up every morning seeking to sell more American agricultural products in foreign markets.``

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