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More needed to curb genetically modified soyabean and soy seeds import

India does not permit cultivation of GM soybean

Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

soyabean

The Union Environment Ministry's directive to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to stop any import of (GM) and seed without its approval could have limited impact unless curbs are also placed on the plant quarantine authority and the customs department, business sources said.

Officials and industry sources said though import of and attract a high import duty of around 45 per cent, traders have over recent years been routing their consignments through African nations, particularly Ethiopia and Benin, to take advantage of a nil tariff on that avenue. India allows duty-free import of some commodities from a few African nations in the category of Least Development Countries.

"In a year, around 80,000 tonnes of and seed have been imported into India illegally through this method but just asking the to seek permission before allowing these won't solve the problem," a senior industry official said.

India does not permit cultivation of GM Trade sources said that unless its import is checked, the seeds might pass on to farmers, who will then cultivate it. "Then, its proliferation can't be stopped," an official said. The new restriction will not impact import, already exempt from GM rules.

India imports around 15 million tonnes of edible oils in the 2016-17 oil marketing year that ended in October. Of this, oil was around 3.4 mt.

More needed to curb genetically modified soyabean and soy seeds import

First Published: Sat, March 10 2018. 20:48 IST
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