India imported 7,500 tonnes of genetically modified (GM) soyameal, used as a raw material in the poultry feed industry, from neighbouring Bangladesh in the last few weeks, a senior government official said on Sunday.
To boost domestic supply and arrest skyrocketing prices, the government had in early August permitted import of 12 lakh tonnes of GM soyameal after the environment ministry and Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) cleared the air on the GM issue.
Later, DGFT also issued necessary notification for import of GM soyameal on August 24.
"According to traders, about 7,500 tonnes of GM soyameal has been imported so far mainly from Bangladesh," the official told PTI.
Traders have contracted another 4.5 lakh tonnes of GM soyameal from Bangladesh, Brazil and the US, the official said.
Out of 4.5 lakh tonnes of orders placed, about 1.25 lakh tonnes of GM soyameal is expected to come from Bangladesh, while 75,000 tonnes from Brazil and the rest 2.5 lakh tonnes from the US, he added.
According to the official, "imports are taking place and should help arrest prices of soyameal in the domestic market".
In the domestic market, soyameal rates in the last few months had risen from Rs 35 per kg up to Rs 100 per cent. However with the imports taking place, prices have softened a bit to Rs 85 per kg now, he added.
Initially, the government had permitted import of GM soyameal only via Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT), but later permitted Mumbai Port and Tuticorin ports.
However, industry experts believe it would be very difficult to achieve 12 lakh tonnes of GM soymeal imports as the window for importing is only till October 31.
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