GS Paper - 3 (Biotechnology)

In a first, India is all set to import 12 lakh tonne of genetically modified soyameal, used as livestock feed, after the environment ministry and DGFT cleared the air on the GM issue, a senior Animal Husbandry and Dairying Ministry official said on 16 August 2021. Meanwhile, the food ministry -- after taking a call on this issue in a review meeting on prices and availability of essential commodities -- asked the DGFT and other concerned departments to immediately facilitate the import of 12 lakh tonne of soyameal.

What

  1. The imports are necessary as skyrocketing prices of soyameal have made the livestock feed costlier, affecting farmers associated with the poultry, dairy and aqua industry.
  2. Soyameal is a protein-rich solid leftover raw material after extracting oil from soyabean seed, the new crop of which is expected to arrive from October.
  3. Currently, there is no ban on import of soyameal, including GM soyameal. However, the industry wanted clarification on the GM issue before placing the orders.
  4. The environment ministry clarified on 6 August 2021 that since the de-oiled cake per se obtained after crushing GM soyabean does not contain any living modified organism, it has no objection to import of soya cake or meal from an environmental angle.
  5. There are three types of GM foods, one with Genetically Modified Organism (GMO), second with Living Modified Organism (LMO) and third with Non-Living Modified Organism (NLMO).
  6. The soyameal is NLMO. The Environment Ministry has said it has no impact on human and animal health as well as on the environment.