GM Soya imports permitted till October to curb protein inflation

Commerce Ministry said the relaxation in import curbs will have a positive impact for farmers, poultry farmers and fishermen

NEW DELHI With rising soyabean prices escalating India’s poultry industry’s costs, the government on Tuesday allowed the imports of 1.2 million metric tonnes of crushed and de-oiled genetically modified (GM) soya cake till October 31, 2021.

The development assumes significance as protein sources like fish, meat, eggs and milk, have recorded high inflation, even as overall retail and food inflation moderated slightly in July.

The protein-rich soyabean meal is an essential raw material for the poultry industry, but prices have more than doubled over the past couple of months, prompting the national poultry breeders’ body to approach the government for a nod to import 1.5 million tonnes of GM soyabean meal.

The Commerce Ministry said the relaxation in import curbs will have a positive impact for farmers, poultry farmers and fishermen, and was only approved after prior permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC).

The MOEFCC has held 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".

The imports will be allowed through the Nhava Sheva port in Mumbai and the Petrapole Land Customs Station in West Bengal. The ministry said these imports will be strictly monitored by customs formations in order to ensure that the quantity cap of 1.2 million metric tonnes is not breached.

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