Department of Animal Nutrition, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana in association with Animal Nutrition Society of India (ANSI) and Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL), New Delhi conducted a workshop on GM crops in animal nutrition: science and safety aspects. The workshop was attended by Animal Nutritionist, Animal Scientists from different universities, KVKs, dairy & poultry feed millers and farmers respectively.

In his welcome address, Dr Udeybir Chahal, President ANSI informed the delegates that genetically modified (GM) crops are extensively used for food and feed in several countries especially maize, soybean meal, cottonseed meal and canola meal. In India, Bt cotton is already cultivated (> 90% area) and recently GM soybean meal has been permitted for import for use in animal feed. . The myths related to GM crops for food value chain must be cleared and this workshop is organized with this objectives.

Dr Vibha Ahuja, Chief General Manager of BCIL in her keynote address revealed that in GM crops DNA is modified using genetic engineering techniques with the purpose to introduce new traits in plants such as resistant to certain diseases, pests & environment conditions. GM crops have improved nutritional value & products of biofuel etc.

Dr Inderjeet Singh, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor, GADVASU in his presidential address appreciated the organizers for the theme of the workshop. He revealed that more than 95% 0f animals used for meat and dairy in USA eat GM crops. There is no difference in how GM and non GM food affect the health and safety of animals. The DNA in GM food does not transfer to the animals. As the demand of animal products increasing day by day, new crops with high yield and free from pests etc must be developed to sustain the production. He also highlighted that less insecticide/pesticide use in GM crops in fact improve the economy of the farmer and better end product in food value chain. He emphasized to clear the myths related to GM crops regarding cancer, sterility etc.

Dr Ani Bency Jacob, Animal Nutritionist; Department of Animal Husbandry GOI discussed about the animal feed requirements in India, issues and availability. She also explained certain central schemes for entrepreneurs for installing or improving their feed plants, setting up of new laboratories etc.

Dr Parveen Chhuneja, Director School of Agricultural Biotechnology PAU, Ludhiana delivered a talk on status and overview of GM crops in India. She informed the pioneer work being under taken by her centre regarding the production of GM soy, maize and canola crops.

Dr Dharampal Chaudhary, Principal Scientist ICAR- Indian Institute of Maize Research, Ludhiana discussed GM maize and its derivatives with a focus on animal feed. He informed that certain GM maize varieties have been produced which have better protein and amino acid content than the non GM one.

Dr Milind Ratnaparkhe, Senior Scientist, ICAR- Indian Institute of Soybean Research, Indore highlighted the nutritive value of GM soybean and its derivatives in animal sector. He discussed the agronomic practices and expected yield of GM soy and also said that in Punjab GM soy has ample scope.

Dr Pawan Kumar from US Soybean Export Council explained the tools for checking the feed quality. He showed how to calculate the nutrient value of ingredients to be used in broiler diets. He explained the change in ration formulation with change in price and composition of ingredients.

Mr Amit Sachdev, Regional Consultant- South Asia, US Grains Council delivered a talk on global feed availability and role of GM crops. He cautioned the price factors of raw material in coming weeks due to ongoing war in Russia-Ukraine.

An interactive session was held with feed millers, dairy & poultry farmers regarding the opportunities and challenges in animal nutrition which was coordinated by Dr APS Sethi, Secretary, ANSI & Dr Parminder Singh; Principal Scientist. There were healthy discussions regarding the price, availability and quality issues related to animal feed. The feed cost has almost doubled from the previous year but the price of milk and eggs are not matching thus enforcing the farmers to wind up or reduce the business fearing more dry milk, pork and chicken will be imported.

Dr SS Dahiya, Vice President, ANSI proposed the vote of thanks. He emphasized the need of organizing more such meets to clear the doubts regarding GM crops in other regions of India. He thanked the organizers especially Dr Vibha Ahuja and her team from BCIL for collaboration and ensuring more events like this.