In news- Centre has decided to allow the import of crushed genetically modified soybean, which is a major ingredient of poultry feed.
- Soybean meal is a key protein feed material for fish, shrimp, cattle, dairy and poultry farmers.
- Shortage in feed availability, poor harvest and exorbitant prices charged by major corporations has resulted in a surge in soymeal prices that is hurting livestock farmers, as poultry feed makes up 65% of the cost of production for the farmer.
- On August 10, 2021, the Department of Animal Husbandry notified the Customs department that soymeal and oil cake from GM soy would be permitted for import.
- The Coalition for a GM-Free India, which includes consumer rights groups and sustainable farming groups, has termed the decision “highly objectionable and legally untenable”.
- It has noted that the 1989 rules of the Environment Protection Act applied not just to GM organisms, but also products and substances thereof.
- A 2007 amendment exempting foodstuffs derived from GMOs if the end product was not a living organism cannot be applied in this case as it refers to animal feed and not foodstuffs.
- GM import proposals are examined by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the Environment Ministry for making a recommendation to either accept or reject the proposal.
- The GEAC is yet to consider the proposal for import of soymeal.