Agri Business

Maize development body rues withdrawal of Bt-maize field trials

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 21, 2011


A national body on maize today expressed concern over the government move to withdraw field trials for Bt-maize and said the decision could threaten the crop's overall development and hit small farmers.

“The decision puts at risk the success of small and marginal Indian farmers, particularly maize farmers, who toil to meet the escalating demand of maize in the country,” said the Indian Maize Development Association (IMDA).

“We have achieved higher productivity in maize through introduction of single Cross Hybrid (SCH). The next frontier is transgenic maize that can help reduce cost of cultivation and address problems of maize, eighty per cent of which is grown in rain-fed areas,” an IMDA statement said.

It quoted the IMDA President, Mr Sain Dass, as saying that the halting technology advancement is a matter of “serious concern.”

Following a strong complaint from the Bihar Chief Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar, to the Environment Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh, last week, the field trial of Bt-maize by US-based Monsanto at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) campus in Samastipur district was stopped.

Mr Kumar said the company started trials at IARI campus in Pusa on February 21 before receiving a go-ahead letter from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC).

He reminded Mr Ramesh of an earlier letter in 2009 in which he had written about the State Government's reservation on the introduction of Bt-brinjal.

Published on March 21, 2011

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