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.
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.