India to import genetically modified soya meal to meet feed shortage

India will allow the import of up 1.2M tonnes of genetically modified (GM) soyabean meal to meet a shortage in domestic feed for the livestock, poultry and aquaculture industries, AgriCensus reported on 24 August.

The Indian government’s official confirmation of the move, which was widely expected, followed a statement by the All India Poultry Breeders Association on 9 August thanking the prime minister for allowing GM soya meal imports for the first time.

The feed industry had been lobbying the government to allow the imports, saying that a shortage in domestic feed availability had contributed to surging soya meal prices that had been damaging the livestock, poultry and aquaculture industries, AgriCensus wrote.

Since the start of August, soya meal prices had ranged between INR9,000-9,500/quintal (US$1,213-1,281/tonne) before increasing to INR9,700/quintal (US$1,308/tonne) on 24 August, the report said.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) also noted in a recent report that the 2021 southwest monsoon had contributed to price volatility with heavy rains in the soybean production states fuelling further speculation about yields and meal availability in the upcoming 2021/2022 marketing year.