Colombian soybean production is expected to increase slightly to 60,000 tons in 2009. Although the government of Colombia continues to be committed to supporting Colombian soybean production and has a program to purchase subsidized options at the National Agricultural Commodity Exchange, the expected reduction in economic growth will reduce available resources for expansion of planted area for soybeans.
Unsuitable weather, lack of appropriate infrastructure, the need for capital investments, and pest risk all contribute to high production costs, which have kept soybean production at levels below expectations. The approval of biotech soybeans is under way and work on new soybean varieties is being undertaken by CORPOICA (Colombian agricultural research institute). A significant increase in production is not expected in the immediate future, although there are several commercial projects located in the Colombian high plains to produce soybeans on a large scale that are just getting off the ground.
Oilseed product consumption is expected to decrease in 2009 as the Colombian economy grows at a much slower rate. Close to 95 percent of Colombia’s full-fat soybean meal (FFSBM) production utilizes an extrusion or roasting process. According to the industry, usage of FFSBM in Colombia is expanding and accounts for as much as 50 percent of the country’s total protein requirements. In 2004, the Colombian government banned the use of imported bovine protein meal in livestock feeds in Colombia due to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, or Mad Cow Disease). This policy is helping to fuel the steady growth in oilseed meal consumption. Soybean meal accounts for roughly 85 percent of the total vegetable meal usage by the feed sector.
The long-term impact of the CTPA with the United States is expected to shift soybeans and soybean product imports from Argentina and Brazil to imports from the United States as tariff advantages for those countries are eliminated.
The CTPA will open up opportunities for U.S. investors in establishing new oilseed crushing facilities in Colombia. Also, there may be investment opportunities in feed manufacturing, transportation and port infrastructure.