Poultry industry faces uncertainty as GM soybean meal import policy becomes murkier

The import policy relating to meal or extraction of GM (genetically modified) soybeans – a key food ingredient for the country’s large poultry industry – is becoming increasingly murky and eccentric. It is not yet clear whether the import of GM soybean meal is permitted or whether customs authorities will clear the import shipment.

In the latest development, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Revenue, issued an office memorandum on August 17, 2021, referring to the communication dated 10-08-2021 from the Ministry of Livestock, Dairy and Agriculture. peach.

Citing paragraph 6 of the general notes on import policy in Annex 1 of the import policy (ITC (HS) 2017 published by the DGFT), the communication indicates that said paragraph 6 applies to “food products genetically modified, animal feed, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and living modified organisms (LMOs) ”.

In accordance with the policy in force, the deoiled (genetically modified) soybean meal used for the manufacture of animal feed requires the prior approval of the GEAC (Committee for the evaluation of genetic engineering), the communication from the Ministry of Finance said. , adding that the Central Council of Indirect Taxes and Customs is only responsible with the mandate to apply the provisions of export and import policies as defined by the DGFT, and that the matter can be referred to the DGFT for the necessary measures.

It is clear that the matter is circulating across government and is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. It appears that some enterprising importers have already contracted for quantities to be imported. It may take 30-40 days for the ship to arrive at the Indian port. They may be hoping to resolve the entanglement favorably in the meantime; but take a big risk.

Unfortunately, poultry farmers face enormous uncertainty. On the one hand, domestic feed rates are relatively high, and on the other hand, the uncertainty over import policy. In September, the soybean harvest could start by the middle of the month, bringing some relief to the beleaguered poultry industry.

“There seems to be a standoff between the domestic economic constraints of the industry and dogmatic and regressive elements not based on science. Let’s see who wins,” lamented a poultry farmer suffering production disruption and losses financial.

(The author is a political commentator and agribusiness specialist. Opinions are personal)

About Alma Ackerman

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