With rising demand for corn & soyabean, feed manufacturers argued for GM maize

With rising demand for corn & soyabean, feed manufacturers argued for GM maize
Image: poultrykarnataka

With the rising demand for corn & soybean, feed manufacturers argued for GM maize. Amid rising demand for corn from ethanol and starch producers, animal feed manufacturers have argued for the acceptance of genetically modified (GM) maize in the country.

Corn and soyabean are the two most important raw materials for the livestock feed industry, which include poultry, dairy, and aquaculture. The rise in raw material prices over the last year has harmed the poultry business, as feed accounts for around 70% of production expenses.

Also Read | Livestock feed industry petitioned Central to allow GM crops to alleviate feed scarcity.

Stakeholders argued in favour of granting the industry access to these GM varieties of soya and maize at a workshop on GM Crops and Animal Nutrition to make the sector more competitive. The Biotech Consortium India Ltd, The Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers Association (CLEFMA), Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA), and Animal Nutrition Society of India collaborated to organise the workshop.

Soyabean meal, canola meal, cottonseed meal, and DDGS (distiller’s dried grains with solubles) meals are commonly utilised as protein supplements in the global feed industry. “Allowing the use of GM crops and their derivatives will assist increase the supply of feed and feed ingredients in India and add to the sector’s potential,” said Vibha Ahuja, CGM, BCIL.

Bt cotton is the only GM crop permitted for commercial production in India. Cottonseed meal has been derived from Bt cotton for decades by the animal feed industry, and it is not considered problematic.

When Bt cotton is crushed, the meal contains no GM components. Last year, the Centre permitted imports of soyameal made from GM soybeans to help the livestock sector weather the crisis.

CLFMA Chairman Neeraj Kumar Srivastava stated that India will be at the centre of increased meat consumption, which will create significant potential for the livestock sector. Protein demand will continue to rise as a result of changing lifestyle choices, more urbanisation, and an expanding middle class, among other causes. With constraints on boosting agricultural crop yields, he believes there is a need for the sector to develop GM inputs.

Demand from the ethanol industry

According to Amit Sachdeva, Regional Consultant for South Asia, US Grains Council, feed manufacturers should keep an eye out for corn demand from segments such as starch and ethanol. With the government allowing the use of corn in the production of fuel-grade ethanol, the ethanol industry would require approximately 9.6 million tonnes (mt) of corn by 2025 and 12.26 mt by 2030. This year, around 1 million tonnes of corn are expected to be used for ethanol production. Corn demand from the starch sector is approximately 10 mt, with a 15% increase. While exports are occurring, imports must also occur or prices will continue to climb, according to Sachdeva.

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‘The increased need for animal feed is due to the expansion of India’s animal husbandry industry, particularly dairy, poultry, and aqua.’ Derivatives of GM crops are widely used in animal feed around the world. With imports expected to be cleared by September this year, it is critical to understand various aspects of GM crops in terms of animal nutrition and investigate the application of these products for enhancing the quality and availability of animal feed,’ said Sushant Rai, President of the KPFBA.

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