22 May 2021, New Delhi: The Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations (CIFA) has written to PM Modi highlighting the repercussions of importing GM Soybean meal. The letter sighted immediate ban on the import of 12 lakh metric tonnes of Soybean meal.
The Ministry of Commerce, GOI vide their letter dated 7th April 2021 had sought approval from the Ministry of Animal Husbandry for the import of 12 lakh metric tonnes of soybean meal. The Animal Husbandry Ministry gave their approval on 11th May 2021 for the requested import.
CIFA highlighted the concerns from both regulatory perspective and the prevailing prices of soybean in India. GM Soybean is proposed to be banned in India and GM foods may cause serious health problems. The GM food may enter the human food chain from chicken feed repercussions of which are yet to be researched and verified. The regulatory body on GM crops has not approved any GM plantation in India for last 20 years. The letter also mentioned about European countries not allowing genetically modified crops.
Mentioning about the soybean prices in India, it said that since 2016, soybean farmers are not getting profitable prices and also incurred losses due to demonetisation and 1st wave of covid-19 lockdown. In the past few months, the soybean prices have shown an upward trend and farmers are likely to benefit and compensated for past losses. At this juncture, if the Commerce Ministry initiates this import, the prices in the market will fall.
The letter also mentioned about the need of stopping import of soybean oil from Argentina, Brazil and America as these countries widely use GM Soybean. The government of India in the past has steadfast refused GM research by multinationals, ICAR and Delhi University, ICRISAT for over 20 years now. In the recent years it also refused to grant approval to GM Mustard developed by India Scientist in 2011.