Agri Business

Centre allows import of 12 lakh tonne of GM soyameal

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 24, 2021

Move will help the Covid-hit domestic poultry industry

The government on Tuesday relaxed norms to allow import of 12 lakh tonnes of de-oiled and crushed genetically-modified (GM) soyabean as poultry feed with the Environment Ministry (MoEF) clarifying there was no concern from the environmental angle as it does not contain any living organism, a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said.

The relaxation of the import norms will benefit farmers, poultry farmers and fishermen, who have been affected badly after soyameal prices soared across the country. The imports will be allowed till October 31.

The poultry industry has been leading the demand to allow import of GM soyameal, stating that soyameal prices have topped ₹1 lakh a tonne. Prices of soyameal surged as soyabean prices increased in line with the global trend in view of soyabean crop in South America being affected. In addition, production of palm oil and sunflower have also been affected across the globe due to Covid pandemic and drought-like conditions.

Currently, soyabean is quoted at ₹97,500 a tonne at Indore in Madhya Pradesh, the hub of soyabean industry, while soyameal ₹87,000. Prices of both have tended to ease of late on reports of the Centre allowing imports of GM soyameal, besides the pending arrival of the new soyabean crop.

The relaxation by the Centre came after clarification and prior permission from MoEF that “since soya de-oiled and crushed cake does not contain any living modified organism, this Ministry has no concerns and no objection for import of soya cakes from an environmental angle”.

Armed with the no-objection certificate from the Environment Ministry, the DAHD approached the Commerce Ministry requesting it for facilitating import of the soyameal through Nhava Sheva (sea port) and Petrapole border (land port).

An official communication from the Director-General of Foreign Trade asked authorities at respective ports to do strict monitoring to ensure that the import quantity of 12 lakh tonnes is not breached, the statement said.

“Application of provision as in Condition 6(b) of General Notes Regarding Import Policy Schedule — I (Imports) of the ITC (HS) 2017 is relaxed to allow imports of 12 lakh tonnes of crushed and de-oiled GM soya cake (only non-living organism) under ITC HS codes 23040020 and 23040030 from Nhava Sheva port and LCS Petrapole, till 31st October, 2021 or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” it said.

The surge in soyameal prices resulted in input costs rising for the poultry sector, which in turn passed it on to the poultry item consumers. This resulted in broiler chicken prices soaring to over ₹250 a kg recently.

On the other hand, anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms) activists have opposed the Centre’s decision to allow the import of GM soyameal.

“What the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee have reportedly stated is highly objectionable and legally untenable,” the coalition for a GM-Free India said in a statement on August 13.

Published on August 24, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like