GMO news related to India

10.01.2007 |

Avesthagen advances in Salt Tolerance Program

Today, Avestha Gengraine Technologies Pvt.Ltd,India’s leading fully integrated biotechnology & bioinformatics firm, announced that the Indian Patent Office has granted a patent to the company on ‘cloning and sequencing of AGTSAL 11 rice gene from IR-64 variety implicated in salinity stress tolerance’.

09.01.2007 |

Canada and India to collaborate on agriculture and biotechnology information exchange

Canada's New Government has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with India to extend scientific collaboration in exchanging technology and expertise and in conducting research. The agreement will provide opportunities for researchers and institutions to exchange information and expertise in agriculture, agri-food and rural development. Of particular interest to both countries are agricultural biotechnology, bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers, functional and nutraceutical foods and environmental technologies.

08.01.2007 |

AP govt agrees to out-of-court settlement with Monsanto

In a significant move, the Andhra Pradesh government expressed its willingness to have an ‘out-of-court settlement’ with Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech Ltd in the ‘BT cotton seed’ issue, however, with a rider. Speaking to the media here on Sunday, AP agriculture minister N Raghuveera Reddy said the AP government had no objection to the out-of-court proposal by the company as long as it would be beneficial to farmers in the country. “The government has no problem and is even ready for the out of the court settlement, if the proposal benefits the farmers and reduces the cost of cotton crop,” Reddy said.

08.01.2007 |

Monsanto, cereal killer GM and agrarian suicides in India

The Green Revolution is dead. Its hybrids and high-yield varieties allowed for significant increases in the production of crops like wheat. But its negative side effects have intensified rather than gone away. [...] Anil Shinde had decided to plant Bt cotton, a transgenic variety produced by Monsanto that supposedly reduces the need for insecticides and increases the return for the grower. Shinde is not an exception. Hundreds of farmers who had planted transgenic cotton in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have sought suicide as way out of a desperate situation that worsens year after year. An important element of the tale is that Monsanto’s Bt cotton variety offers some protection against cotton bollworm (Helicoverpa zea) but not against other pests (Spodoptera, for example) which affect this commercial crop in India. Producers like Shinde, who turned to Monsanto cotton looking to lower pesticide costs, were taken by surprise though in any case, they have had to keep using the inputs. Even worse, the debt trap got on top of them much quicker as the Monsanto cotton seeds are more expensive.

05.01.2007 |

Bt cotton crop fails in Tamil Nadu

After Andhra Pradesh, it is now Tamil Nadu where the much hyped Bt cotton seeds of Mahyco has run into rough weather. The Tamil Nadu government has asked Mahyco to pay compensation to farmers for failure of Bt cotton in the state in the current season. Bt cotton crop has failed in Dharampuri, the major producing district in the state. The farmers and the local NGO Pasumai Vakatan had complained to the district collector and subsequently to the joint director for agriculture in charge of Dharampuri, Duraisamy.

03.01.2007 |

Is India's Record Cotton Production Attributable To Bt Cotton? - Table 1
Compiled from USDA, ISAAA and media (2006-07 cotton production) data

India’s cotton output seen at record 25 mln bales

India’s cotton output is likely to notch a record 25 million bales in the crop year to September 2007, with growing use of genetically modified cotton, industry officials said on Thursday. Last season, the output was 24.4 million bales, which was also a record crop. Industry officials said though the area under cotton cultivation was virtually the same in the last two years at 8.9 million hectares, farmers were able to reap bumper harvests with the use of the new variety of cotton. Out of 8.9 million hectares, about 30 percent of the area was under bacillus thuringiensis or Bt Cotton, they said.

03.01.2007 |

Stringent laws suggested for transgenic seeds in India

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture has criticised the provision in The Seeds Bill, 2004, that provides for ``provisional registration/clearance for two years'' for transgenic (genetically modified seeds) irrespective of such a clearance under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. The Government proposes to allow provisional registration merely on the basis of the information furnished by the seed company. In its 22nd report, the panel has rejected the idea saying this would bring untested seeds and genetically engineered food crops into the market through ``the backdoor.'' Also, since the transgenic seeds cannot be released for commercial cultivation without the approval of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, provisional registration/clearance should not be allowed. ``This proviso to Clause (15) 1 in the Seeds Act should be deleted,'' the committee headed by Ram Gopal Yadav has said.

28.12.2006 |

DBT contemplates changes to GM crop field trial regulations

Faced with the problem of maintaining the country’s image as an exporter of GM-free rice, the department of biotechnology (DBT) is now contemplating changes in its guidelines for regulation of field trials for genetically modified (GM) crops. DBT secretary, MK Bhan , DBT advisor KK Tripathi and advisor in the science and technology ministry, SR Rao have suggested that no field trials of GM rice should be allowed in Basmati rice producing states—Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

27.12.2006 |

GM in India: the battle over Bt cotton

The chequered history of Bt cotton in India — marked by pest resistance and farmers' suicides — has polarised opinions over the technology, reports TV Padma. 'Bt and the beast' is how cotton scientist Keshav Raj Kranthi refers to the controversial genetically modified cotton so widely planted in India. The 'beast' is the American bollworm — a moth larva that devours cotton bolls — while Bt is its nemesis, a protein crystal from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis.

19.12.2006 |

Indian Supreme Court has imposed

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on Monday said that the Supreme Court has imposed a "No Restriction" order on the ongoing field trials of Genetically Modified (GM) crops and that the field trials being conducted with the approval of the Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) and the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) are 'legal'. The Ministry also made it clear that before declaring the field trials as illegal, documentary evidence on the approval issued by the RCGM and the status of compliance in respect of physical and biological containment stipulated in the approval order may be verified.