The Soyabean Processors Association of India (SOPA), the apex trade body for the oilseed, has sought the government’s intervention to prevent illegal imports of genetically modified (GM) soybean into the country.
SOPA, in a memorandum to the Union Agriculture Ministry, has raised concerns over the GM soybean import cargo being unloaded at the Mumbai port and has sought immediate action against the company that is bringing in the prohibited oilseeds into the country.
In a letter to Pramod Kumar Meherda, Joint Secretary, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Agriculture Ministry, SOPA shared the details of the firm allegedly importing GM soybean in contravention of the rules and regulations. The import of GM products is prohibited into the country.
“The vessel is currently discharging the cargo at port and we would request you to kindly take immediate action to ensure that the soybean is not genetically modified. If immediate action is not taken and such imports are permitted, it will open the floodgates for illegal imports of GM soybean, which will destroy our soybean cultivation. The soybean may find its way even to the farmers causing irreparable damage to the Indian soybean cultivation,” SOPA Executive Director, D N Pathak said in the letter urging the government to take action.
While the import of GM soybean is prohibited, the government last year relaxed the norms allowing imports of 1.2 million tonnes of GM soybean meal to help the poultry sector deal with rising livestock feed prices which had hit the roof. In the current oil year, SOPA estimates that 5.4 lakh tonnes of soybean meal and 5.09 lakh tonnes of soybean have been imported into the country.
Source: The Business Line