India, as expected, is opening up its market to soymeal imports and allowing for product made from genetically modified soybeans, according to a statement released Tuesday by the country's government.

A country known for frowning on genetically modified commodities, India will allow for the import of roughly 1.2 million metric tons of soymeal.

India’s poultry and pork producing industries have been pushing for the government to allow the imports in an effort to counter unusually tight domestic supplies and rising prices, according to a recent report by the New Delhi office of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

“In January 2021, Indian domestic soybean meal prices commenced to climb without warning,” said FAS in the report. “Prices in recent months have rocketed to unprecedented highs.”

The price to buy soymeal in India this month reached $1,115 per metric ton — 110% above the minimum support price set by the Indian government, said FAS.

The government said it had been waiting for clearance from the country’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change before making the announcement Tuesday.

“This decision will positively impact farmers, poultry farmers, and fishermen,” the Indian government said in the Tuesday statement.

Kevin Roepke, Regional Director of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa for the U.S. Soybean Export Council, said India’s livestock producers and consumers will be the biggest beneficiary of the country’s s decision to open its market to imported soymeal.

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USSEC, he told Agri-Pulse in a statement, “is a long-standing partner of India’s poultry, aquaculture and livestock farmers and industry, and we remain committed to continuing to collaborate so that local industry can meet the country’s vision for nutrition and food security.”

India says customs officials will be monitoring to make sure imports do not exceed 1.2 million metric tons.

Furthermore, there is only a short window for the imports. The quota expires on Oct. 31, which is when more domestic supplies are expected to be entering the market and pushing down prices. India’s farmers are expected to begin their soy harvest in October.

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