Resistance continues against Centre’s move to import genetically modified soyameal

NCP MP Fauzia Khan has written to the Prime Minister seeking to revoke the decision which, she says, would deal a body blow to farmers’ earnings this Kharif season.

The central government’s decision to clear the decks for the import of genetically modified soyameal continues to face stiff opposition from farm leaders and Opposition MPs.

NCP’s Rajya Sabha MP Fauzia Khan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking to rescind the decision which, she says, would deal a body blow to farmers’ earnings this Kharif season.

In her letter to the Prime Minister, Khan said the decision to allow imports has resulted in a “sharp correction in the price of soyabean in wholesale mandis. Importing soyameal would affect the soyabean market in the country” she pointed out, adding that “domestic harvest would start in a month, which will coincide with the arrival of the imports.”

Last week, SK Dutta, Joint Commissioner of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, had written to Bahadur Ali, President of the All India Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association clearing a proposal to import of 1.5 million tonnes of soyameal.

“The government’s decision will affect Maharashtra, which is among the leading soyabean producers in the country… Farmers might not be able to realise the government-declared minimum support price (MSP) if it is implemented,” Khan said.

This would be the first time that India would be importing genetically modified (GM) soyameal to be used as protein component in the poultry feed industry.

Former MP and farmers’ leader Raju Shetti has also been vocal in his criticism of the government decision. “This is one of the many moves by the central government against farmers. The oilseed is the only agricultural commodity which attracts GST and at a time when farmers are hoping for better realisations, the government is allowing imports to soften the prices,” he said in a statement.

A tight crop situation and market speculation has seen the price of soyameal shoot up from Rs 40 per kg to Rs 110, leaving the poultry industry will little choice but to import it to reduce the price of the essential commodity in feed business.

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