| KUALA LUMPUR
KUALA LUMPUR India's soymeal exports are expected to climb to about 2 million tonnes in the year to October 2017, the most in two years, as higher domestic production boosts supplies and drags down prices.
India's soybean production, harvested in October 2016, rose to 11.5 million tonnes, compared with 7 million tonnes a year ago, the biggest annual increase in more than a decade.
The 2015 output was hit by drought due to the El Nino weather pattern.
"Soymeal exports are doing very well, especially to Europe and Japan," said Atul Chaturvedi, president of the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEAI), the country's main vegetable oil trade association.
"We will see strong growth this year."
India exported 250,775 tonnes of soybean meal in 2015/16, according to SEAI data, as drought curbed local production.
Soybean prices in India have dropped around 30 percent to 25,875 rupees ($387.60) a tonne as of March 3 since last year's peak of 37,350 rupees a tonne, the lowest since 2012. Soybeans are crushed to make soymeal, a protein-rich animal feed ingredient and soyoil, used mainly as a cooking oil.
Overall exports of oilmeal, which includes products such as rapeseed meal and ground nut meal, are likely to jump to between 2.3 million and 2.8 million tonnes in 2016/17 (Nov-Oct), said B.V. Mehta, SEAI's executive director. Last year India exported 1.25 million tonnes of oil meal.
(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)