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Introduce GM Oilseed Crops in the Country: Solvent and Extractors Association of India

SEA has also asked for a diversion of the area under wheat cultivation in northern India for the cultivation of the mustard crop. This, would help in replenishing the water table and also help in the diversification of crops in the states of Punjab and Haryana.

Ayushi Raina
Introduce GM Oilseed Crops in the Country
Introduce GM Oilseed Crops in the Country

The Solvent and Extractors Association of India (SEA), the country's leading body of edible oil manufacturers, importers, and processors, has demanded that genetically modified oilseed crops be introduced in the country.

In its pre-budget consultation with the Centre, the organization also advocated for the substitution of grains for oilseeds in northern India. 

Cotton is now the sole GM crop permitted for production in the nation. The introduction of additional GM crops has long been a desire from numerous farm organizations, but the government has refused to approve field trials of any such crop. 

According to Atul Chaturvedi, president of SEA, the country's per-acre production of soyabean is low, at 800-1,000 tonnes per hectare. Whereas GM soyabean offers yield as high as 3-4 tonnes per hectare, he added. 

"Even if the government continues to raise the Minimum Support Price (MSP) on a year-on-year basis, it will not result in significant gains for farmers. Technology will help farmers boost their yields and consequently their revenue," Chaturvedi added. 

The opposition technique is not scientific, according to the SEA president, because the country has been consuming cottonseed oil for some years now. Cotton seed cake has also been used as a protein supplement in the livestock industry for many years. "Without better technology, India would never be self-sufficient in oil seeds ever," he stated. 

SEA has also asked that wheat-growing areas in northern India be converted to mustard-growing areas. This will help in the replenishment of the water table as well as agricultural diversification in the states of Punjab and Haryana. 

"Around 60 lakh hectares of land have been set aside for wheat growing in Punjab and Haryana. Assuming we can transfer 50% of the available area for mustard cultivation in the next two to three years through greater incentives for shifting, the additional available crop would be 60 lakh tonnes of mustard, translating into an additional 25 lakh tonnes of oil," the body added. 

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