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Industry, experts, demand soya-food promotion, tax cut

Industry, experts, demand soya-food promotion, tax cut

They also push for promotion of non-GM soya crops

Shashikant Trivedi | Bhopal
November 7, 2014

To boost the soya-based food industry's health, industrialists from the soya processing and crushing sector, scientists and agriculture experts and soya-food makers today demanded that the Madhya Pradesh government slash taxes on soya food, promote export of non-genetically modified soybean and create awareness among commoner to adopt soya food in daily diet.
They assembled in Bhopal today at a forum, "International conference on Soya Food - opportunities for growth and development" and put promotion of non-GM crop on top of the agenda to muster government support.

"Madhya Pradesh has always been reported with high rate of malnutrition. Soya food is not only rich in protein but is also cheaper. What we are looking for is that the state government should not only pare tax on soya-food products and also launch some awareness programmes to promote the cheapest source of protein," Dinesh Shahra, founder and Managing Director, Ruchi Soya Industries Limited said.

So far India has a low rate of soya seed contamination for the crop and it is known for its GM (genetically modified) free soybean. And value-added soya products are fetching a premium in the international market, being authentic non-GM products.

"Soyabean is the only source of cheaper protein but sadly state government has not taken it seriously though Madhya Pradesh has very high rate of malnutrition," said Anil Agrawal, president Assocham, Madhya Pradesh chapter.

"We want Indian government to promote soya-food and encourage people to use soya in daily diet. If we compare protein price from soya-based food with 'dal' it comes approximately Rs 100 per kg versus Rs 300 per kg respectively," Girish Matlani, president of Soy Food Promotion and Welfare Association said.

Madhya Pradesh attracts 13 per cent tax on soya nuggets - a household soyafood used across India. "It is highest among other Indian states," Matlani said.

Experts observe that none of the GMO seeds in the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.

GMOs are a direct extension of chemical agriculture, and are developed and sold by the world's biggest chemical companies. Many companies now make soya-foods.

According to industry players and experts, soya food market is not less than Rs 700 crore, that only from organized sector.

"Consumption of soya food is more in Eastern states than other states," said Sarvesh Sahara,Business Head - consumer brands division, Ruchi Group.

The Ruchi Group has 50 per cent market share in soya-food under its Nutrela brand. He said his company was planning to launch a range of ready-to-eat soya foods soon.

"Ruchi Soya is working with DJ Hendrick International Inc, a Canadian soyabeanresearch corporation. In our efforts to help Indian farmers, we are focusing on research for producing high yielding Non Genetically Modified (Non GM) Soyabean seeds with higher oil percentage and nutritional value," Sarvesh said.

The experts revealed that soyabean is the only crop which generates 2.5 times revenue of the input cost. India with 100 per cent authentic non-GM soya is on advantages since protein content of Indian soyabean is higher by 3 per cent over soyabean grown in the US.