Shares of agri-biotech companies such as Monsanto India and BASF India jumped in the early trade on Friday tracking the Government’s decision to allow field trials of the genetically modified (GM) crops.

Monsanto India scrip touched a 52-week high of Rs 1,414 in the early trade and was seen hovering around Rs 1,390, about 4.42 per cent higher around 11 am.

The Environment Ministry said on Thursday that Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)’s year-old decision to permit field trials of crops such as rice, wheat and maize has been approved.

Monsanto India’s proposal to take up field trials of transgenic maize that incorporates gene for insect protection and weed management was approved by GEAC last March.

The BASF India scrip also was trading higher by 2.45 per cent at Rs 667 on the BSE. BASF India’s proposal to carry out field trials of GM rice was also cleared by the GEAC.

Similarly, the scrip of Bayer Cropscience Ltd was also trading higher at Rs 1,477 in the early trade. Bayer’s GM rice for insect tolerance was also one of the products that was approved by GEAC.

Meanwhile, the Association of Biotech Led Enterprises- Agriculture Group (ABLE-AG) has welcomed the Environment Ministry’s move to approve GEAC’s decision to permit more than 200 gene modification trials for rice, wheat, maize, castor and cotton. The next meeting of GEAC is scheduled for March 21.

“We are hopeful that the next GEAC meeting will clear the new applications before the coming kharif season” said Ram Kaundinya, Chairman, ABLE AG in a statement.

ABLE-AG firmly believes that research and trials in GM technology should not be stopped as additional information from research and trials will help us to assess the technology more accurately.

(This article was published on February 28, 2014)
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