India likely to allow import of GM soymeal to check rising feed prices

With the poultry industry hit badly due to rising feed meal prices, the Central government is all set to allow import of 1.2-1.5 million tonnes of genetically modified soymeal.  Feed meal prices have risen due to a staggering 64% increase in prices of soymeal, which is one of the main constituents of feed meal along with maize.

Feed meal prices have risen due to increase in prices of soymeal, which is one of the main constituents of feed meal along with maize. The poultry sector said that the average price of soybean meal has risen by 64 per cent between April and July this year which is badly hurting their margins.

India has allowed the import of GM soybean oil and canola oil. Import of GM soya bean seeds has not been approved till now in India. The main fear is that import of GM soya bean will affect the Indian soya bean industry by contaminating non-GM varieties.

However, the poultry industry is demanding a permit for the import of crushed genetically modified (GM) soy seeds for captive consumption of farmers from the Central government.

The outbreak of Covid-19 has created a massive crisis which led to an initial depletion of demand in chicken products owing to false news about the linkage between the virus and poultry products. This created an unwarranted financial crisis and led to the erosion of working capital (used for day-to-day operations).

For the past few months, high speculation activities in soya contracts on National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX) has been disturbing the sector. The rise in the soybean process had led to the skyrocketing of prices of eggs and chicken products in the retail market. Poultry owners claim that import for a particular time frame will stabilise the raw material market.

A GM or transgenic crop is a plant that has a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology. Bt cotton is the only GM crop that is allowed in India. It has alien genes from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that allows the crop to develop a protein toxic to the common pest pink bollworm.

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