Agri Business

Agri-biotech cos float new lobby group

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on September 04, 2018 Published on September 04, 2018

Call for an end to policy logjam hindering research

The nine members of ABLE-AG, the agri-biotech group within the Association of Biotech-Led Enterprises (ABLE), have formed a new association, breaking away from the pharma-focussed advocacy group.

“We have formalised a new association to represent the challenges we face and to discuss the issues that are relevant to us,” Ram Kaundinya, Advisor to the Alliance for Agri Innovation, told BusinessLine.

The association represents nine agri-biotech companies: Bayer Bioscience, Dow Agro Sciences, DuPont Pioneer, Mahyco, Metahelix, Monsanto, Rasi Seeds, Syngenta and Shriram Bioseeds.

“We are going to rope in about nine other companies for more representation of the industry investing in research in agricultural biotechnology,” he said.

Alleging that delays in policy decisions have led to a logjam in biotech research in agriculture, the association has asked the Union government to spell out focus areas, helping the agri-biotech companies to channelise their investments.

“Due to the lack of focus and absence of clarity on policy directions, the industry is suffering,” he said.

According to Kaundinya, the industry spends about ₹500 crore annually on research in seeds and agri biotechnology.

Biotech solutions

The association felt that the country could focus on biotech solutions for rain-fed agriculture and drought-tolerant seed options. “We can focus on Nitrogen Use Efficiency, which helps improve nitrogen absorption by crops. It can reduce fertiliser consumption by up to 30 per cent,” he said.

Shivendra Bajaj, Executive Director of the Alliance for Agri Innovation, said herbicide-tolerant varieties of rice and Bt for corn and maize will help farmers growing these two crops.

He said the association would encourage investments in agricultural biotechnology in India. “We will advocate an enabling policy environment for the respect and protection of intellectual property rights in agriculture,” he said.

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Published on September 04, 2018
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