India officially confirms import of 1.2m mt of GM soymeal

24 Aug 2021 | Euan Sadden

The Indian government has announced that it will allow the import of up to 1.2 million mt of genetically modified soymeal in a move aimed at plugging the country’s existing supply shortfall.

The ruling applies to product classified under ITC HC codes 23040020 and 23040030 arriving at Nhava Sheva and LCS Petrapole before October 31 and had been widely expected following strong hints from the industry.

The announcement follows a statement released by the All India Poultry Breeders Association on August 9 (AIPBA) in which Bahadur Ali, Chairman of the AIPBA, thanked India’s Prime Minister for allowing GM soymeal imports for the first time.

The government was prompt to react following a period of intense lobbying by representatives from the Indian poultry, aquaculture (fisheries and shrimp), dairy and animal feed industries, but was slow to issue an official confirmation.

According to industry representatives, a shortage in domestic feed availability has contributed to surging soymeal prices that are damaging the livestock, poultry and aquaculture industries as high feed prices squeeze production margins.

In a recent release, the USDA noted that the 2021 southwest monsoon has also contributed to price volatility with heavy rains in the soybean production states fuelling further speculation about bean yields and meal availability in the upcoming marketing year 2021/2022.

On the futures trading platform NCDEX, hipro soybean meal prices peaked at INR10,211/quintal ($1,370/mt) on August 5 - up 157% from a closing price of INR3,966/quintal ($530/mt) on August 1 2020.

Soybean meal prices have since ranged between INR9,000-9,500/quintal ($1213-1281/mt) before increasing to INR9,700/quintal ($1,308/mt) on August 24.

India currently imports approximately 500,000 mt of oilmeals and about 300,000 mt of oilseeds from non-GM origins each year.