Agri Business

Beej Sheetal to start trials next year

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on September 06, 2020

Jalna-based Beej Sheetal Research Pvt Ltd will commence the second stage biosafety research trials (BRL-II) for Bt Brinjal from April 2021, said the company chairman Suresh Agarwal.

Beej Sheetal has to carry out trials in at least two of the eight states for which it has received approval by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) recently.

Two varieties

GEAC has approved BRL-II trials for Beej Sheetal’s two transgenic Bt Brinjal Hybrids called Janak and BSS-793.

Jalna district in central Maharashtra is known as the seed hub of the State because a large number of seed companies are located there. The dry climate of the district is most conducive for seed farming and storage.

Agarwal told BusinessLine that Beej Sheetal along with its sister concern Kalash Seeds Pvt Ltd are privately held and are primarily focussed on vegetable seeds for the last 34 years. Beej Sheetal works on biotech research, while Kalash Seeds looks after production and marketing of the vegetable seeds.

Kalash Seeds had a turnover of ₹180 crore and ₹30 crore profit for fiscal 2019-2020. Beej Sheetal being a research-oriented company it had a turnover of ₹40 crore, he said.

Already about ₹20 crore has been spent on research and other activities for Bt Brinjal, he said.

‘Letter to PM’

Agarwal said Beej Sheetal has been working on Bt Brinjal since 2005, but today after 15 years GEAC has given permissions for field trials. Once the trials are over, the field data will have to be submitted again to GEAC. After that they consider the technology for commercialisation.

He pointed out that for the last 10 years there was a moratorium on GM Brinjal, “But recently the company wrote to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “simple letter” saying that the company has worked on Bt technology for Brinjal and it can be a real Make in India product.”

Published on September 06, 2020

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