Karnataka poultry, livestock breeders up demand for GM crop feed


BENGALURU: Citing that over 80% of poultry and livestock in Europe are fed genetically modified (GM) crops, poultry breeders in Karnataka plan to strengthen their pitch for procuring the same kind of poultry feed for reared animals in India by taking their concerns to the Centre.

At a state-level event organised by Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers’ Association of India (CLFMAI), Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA), Animal Nutrition Society of India, and Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL), over 90 industry players and stakeholders from Karnataka came together to discuss the benefits of GM poultry feed and the impact it will have on broiler meat production in India.

While it has been a year since the broiler meat production industry experienced notable challenges in procurement of maize and soybean to feed poultry birds fit for human consumption, the demand for GM crops has never been louder. Due to decreasing availability of soybean and maize (to feed poultry and livestock), farmers are rooting for genetically modified versions of these crops.

“…This event is mainly for knowledge sharing and we want people to understand that once the regulatory authorities approve GM crops, they are going to be grown as safely as the non-GM crops,” said Vibha Ahuja, chief general manager at BCIL.

The concerns around genetically modified crops have been a roadblock for the indian poultry industry. Environmental activists and scientists say GM crops are unfit for human consumption and that they will negatively affect human health in addition to compromising soil quality and natural ecology. So far, the only GM crop to be allowed by the government of India is Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) cotton. In May, the Centre approved the import of 5.5 lakh tonnes of GM soymeal for poultry feed. Taking the latter as a move in their favour, poultry and livestock breeders are hoping to convince policy makers to allow GM soybean and maize into the country.

“Millions of people in Europe are eating GM-crop fed broiler meat and there has been no health or environmental hazard. This is a tried and tested method and proved to be safe. The culmination of our outreach efforts to our peers needs to reach Delhi. A strong follow up (post the Delhi outreach) that will contain recommendations from our poultry associations and the justification behind our industry’s needs will be important,” said Sushant Rai, president, Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA).

The pro-GM lobby at the event even made a case about GM crops being environment friendly. The arguments ranged from such crops requiring minimal water for cultivation to the shrinking availability of cultivable land, which will require everyone to harvest ‘more from less’.

Source – timesofindia

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