50,000 tonnes of GM soyameal from Bangladesh arrive in India


The first consignment of 50,000 tonnes of genetically modified (GM) soyameal from Bangladesh has arrived in India via the land port of Petrapole in West Bengal. This is the first time since independence that India has allowed import of GM raw material, which will be used for making poultry feed.

Soyameal refers to the protein-rich solid left after oil is extracted from the seed. It forms the protein component of poultry feed.

An acute shortage and resultant escalation in prices of soyameal had prompted the poultry industry to seek import of the item. The central government had cleared the import without referring the matter to the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee. Instead, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had argued that as this was a non-living entity, it could be imported

The industry has been given till October 31 for importing 12 lakh tonnes of soyameal. Industry insiders said the landed cost of soyameal is around Rs 60/kg, which is much cheaper than the domestic produce, which is retailing at Rs 85/kg.

After the Centre’s green signal for imports, poultry majors have inked deals of around 2.5 lakh tonnes of soyameal import. Most of the imports are from Vietnam and are expected to come via the sea route by September 15.

While the industry has till October 31 to import its quota of soyameal, many feel that not more than 4 lakh tonnes would be imported by then. This is because it takes 15-20 days for imports to arrive by the sea route. Majority of the imports would come from Vietnam as larger consignments from Brazil, Argentina or USA would take minimum 45 days to come by sea.

After October, the domestic produce will also arrive in local markets, which would lead to softening of prices.

Meanwhile, farmers in Maharashtra have reported satisfactory crop conditions this year, with improved per acre yield. Instead of 6-7 quintals per acre, many farmers are hopeful about 10-12 quintals per acre as the average yield.

India has reported sowing over 121 lakh hectares as against the 119 lakh hectares of last year. Maharashtra alone has reported sowing over 45 lakh hectares, the highest ever in the state.


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