Agri Business

‘Ban on Bt brinjal hampers farm research'

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on November 13, 2017

With the Government battling to cool down the soaring inflation, scientist community has called for lifting the moratorium on genetically modified vegetables on the eve of the first anniversary of a moratorium on release of transgenic brinjal hybrid developed by Mahyco, a subsidiary of global seed giant Monsanto.

Prof. C. Kameswara Rao, Executive Secretary, Foundation for Biotechnology Awareness and Education (FBAE), said the government's decision of imposing a moratorium on Bt brinjal affected research and development activities in the country's agricultural biotechnology sector.

Moratorium

It has also created a regulatory uncertainty on the development of all genetically engineered crops in the country. In the last one year, there has been no palpable, effective and time-bound effort to lift the moratorium or to resolve the uncertainties caused by the moratorium, he added.

Formed by a group of scientists, the non-profit organisation FBAE, promotes public awareness on scientific issues of biotechnology and about the perceived or potential risks and benefits of this emerging technology.

The moratorium will last “till such time independent scientific studies establish, to the satisfaction of both the public and professionals, the safety of the product from the point of view of its long-term impact on human health and environment, including the rich genetic wealth existing in brinjal in our country,” Mr Jairam Ramesh, Environment Minister, had said announcing the Government's decision on moratorium.

Dr T.M. Majunath, Consultant-Agricultural Biotechnology, said considering that the product efficacy, bio-safety and environmental safety of Bt Brinjal were evaluated for over seven years, according to international standards, involving over 200 scientists and more than a dozen of public and private sector research institutions.

Benefits

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, said FBAE.

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

Published on February 09, 2011

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