The Indian soybean revolution - Ascertaining the determinants and the tipping point

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  • SIDDHARTHA PAUL TIWARI Southeast Asia Interdisciplinary Development Institute (SAIDI), Antipolo City 1870, The Philippines
  • S P TIWARI Ex-Vice Chancellor, SK Rajasthan Agricultural University, Bikaner; Ex-DDG, ICAR; Fellow, NAAS; Fellow, ISOR;


India, Soybean Revolution, Soybean, Tipping point and determinants


The landmark Indian soy-revolution was re-visited and an analytical review undertaken for ascertaining its tipping point and the factors responsible for its occurrence and early continuation. A score of enabling determinants of this watershed occurrence was elucidated, assessed and aggregated. Several specific notes on current situation, wherever required, were provided. Soybean revolution was observed to have reached its tipping point in the later part of the year 1972. Export-orientation of soy-derivatives and earning huge profit therefrom appeared as a crucial prospective recourse that, in due course, could change the traditional Indian soybean into a commercial crop and a highly processed commodity. Consequently, Indian soymeal emerged as the characteristic hallmark of country's soy-based export. Later, a high rise in domestic use of soymeal was also experienced. Availability of rainy-season fallow-land was another vital contextual factor, with zero opportunity cost, that enabled the soybean spread in its initial and early period. The fallow land happened to be in a suitable niche with appropriate latitudinal bearings that imparted a short duration to the soybean crop, making it to feasibly fit in the available cropping system. Soybean occupied the fallow-land and it right away enhanced the cropping intensity and the unit area profitability from the land use. There was an overwhelming enthusiasm of farmers to adopt this innovation despite it being risky due to low soybean yields but profitable due to low input-cost and high procurement cost. R&D organisations providing strong and specific technical backstopping existed when soybean had a little crop-area. These contextual pre-requisites got favourably aligned with eventual market intervention by the government and parastatal agencies, and several farmer-friendly initiatives of the cooperative organisations and the industry. Soybean crop expansion, unlike that in South America, happened in a relatively environment-friendly manner. Most of the essential ingredients were indigenous. Committed industrialists, scientists and farmers with changed mind-set led to the establishment of a new global chain of business. Soybean earned substantial foreign exchange and its trickle down brought about inclusive socio-economic upliftment. A high moral support abated the efforts of calling soybean an unacceptable foreign crop. These determinants and resultant benefits helped usher in the Indian soybean revolution that continues to contribute significantly towards agricultural economy and well-being of the country.


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How to Cite

SIDDHARTHA PAUL TIWARI, & S P TIWARI. (2023). The Indian soybean revolution - Ascertaining the determinants and the tipping point: THE INDIAN SOYBEAN REVOLUTION - ASCERTAINING DETERMINANTS AND TIPPING POINT. Journal of Oilseeds Research, 40(1and2), 1-12.