Agri Business

Biotech body urges Prime Minister to intervene in Bt brinjal issue

Our Bureau Bangalore | Updated on November 12, 2017

Supportive of Bt brinjal: Prof C. Kameswara Rao, Scientist, Foundation of Biotechnology Awareness and Education, with other scientists, signing the poster requesting the Prime Minister to lift the moratorium on commerical production of Bt. Brinjal, at a press conference ‘Bt Brinjal safe for consumption’, in Bangalore on Tuesday. — K. Murali Kumar





The Foundation of Biotechnology Awareness and Education (FBAE) has urged the Prime Minister to intervene to ensure that the moratorium on commercial production of Bt brinjal is lifted.

Addressing a press meet, Prof C. Kameswara Rao of FBAE said that no action was taken on the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister and other ministers concerned since July 30 last year by the country's leading biotech scientists.

Beneficiary

The biotech scientists said let not farmers, the ultimate beneficiary of this technology - as was evident from the stupendous success of Bt cotton - suffer the tyranny of politics.

“By allowing Bt brinjal you will enable millions of brinjal farmers to earn more and lead better and happier lives. After the White Revolution of Bt cotton, the country was all set to usher in an era of gene revolution. Allow it to happen and history will credit you for this,” Prof Rao said

on medicinal values

Unveiling a special report on ‘Use of brinjal in alternative systems of medicine in India,' Prof Rao said that contrary to what was being propagated, brinjal is not used in any Indian systems of medicine and, hence, the claim that Bt brinjal would affect brinjal's use in Indian medicine was aimed at exploiting the lack of scientific awareness of the issue.

Brinjal belongs to the botanical group Solanum and while some wild species of it are used in medicines, raw brinjal is not.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr T.M. Majunath, consultant-agricultural biotechnology, said, “Considering that the product efficacy, biosafety and environmental safety of Bt brinjal were evaluated for over seven years, according to the international standards, involving over 200 scientists and more than a dozen public and private sector research institutions, Bt Brinjal should be commercially released without further delay.”

Insecticide

The adoption of Bt Brinjal would help millions of farmers by reducing the use of synthetic insecticide up to 77 per cent and losses from the brinjal shoot and fruit borer (SFB), resulting in an increase in marketable yield, reducing costs of production.

There would be about 60 per cent consumer benefit as well. According to a recent publication from the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, an ICAR institute, Bt Brinjal adoption would add between 30,000-1,19,000 tonnes to the total production of brinjal, depending upon the extent of cultivation in different areas/States.

The absolute annual gain at the country level from Bt brinjal cultivation would be about Rs 577 crore at an adoption level of 15 per cent, about Rs 1,167 crore at 30 per cent and Rs 2,387 crore at 60 per cent adoption levels.

Published on September 06, 2011

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