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India approves GM soy imports

Friday, August 27, 2021

The Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced that it will allow the import of 12 Lakh metric tons (1.2 million tons) of crushed and de-oiled GM soy, benefiting poultry and aquaculture farmers. Imports will be from Nhava Sheva port and LCS Petrapole until October 31, 2021 or until further orders.

The approval comes after clarification and prior permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change that “since de-oiled and crushed soy does not contain any living modified organism, this Ministry has no concerns or objections for import of soy cakes from an environmental angle.”

Soy prices hit record highs

Soybean meal is India’s most popular animal feed protein source. In January 2021, Indian domestic soybean meal prices rose without warning. Prices in recent months have rocketed to unprecedented highs. August 2021 prices for soybean meal are currently averaging $1,115 per ton, 110% above the government’s minimum support price of $531 per ton, according to a USDA report. Prices quoted in some cases are 200% above 2020’s prevailing prices. Earlier in July, soybean meal prices peaked at a record high of $1,350 per ton, averaging $1,243 per ton in local markets. With the government authorizing GM soybean meal imports, prices are likely to fall to $1,000-1,100 per ton and possibly reaching $806 per ton, USDA forecasted.

The scarcity of animal feed is putting tremendous financial pressure on Indian livestock producers, including poultry, dairy, pork, and aquaculture. Indian animal feed consumption is high, fueled also by large-scale production of livestock products for export.  

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