Bt eggplants (brinjal) in India


Since 1999 GENET collects and distributes information on various topics in the field of genetic engineering in agriculture, food production and health. With this "Special Topic: Bt Brinjal in India" GENET aims at providing an overview about the debate on development and approval of Bt brinjal in this country, based on our archives.

2008-02-22 |

GM trials in India threaten trade ties

India finds itself increasingly on the defensive in agricultural trade for permitting field trials across the country in a host of genetically modified (GM) food crops — rice, brinjal, okra, potato, tomato and groundnuts — and thereby exposing conventional crops to the risk of transgenic contamination. A case in point is a rather dodgy no-contamination certificate that the regulator, Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), was forced to give two months ago in response to a restriction imposed by Russia on import of rice, groundnuts and sesame seeds from India.

2008-01-11 |

Indian National Research Centre for Weed Science cooperates with Monsanto on RR crops

Notwithstanding the ongoing controversies related to Bt cotton and Bt brinjal, the government is all set to embrace another genetically modified technology which generated considerable heat in the US and Canada during the last decade. Known as ”herbicide tolerance”, the technology actually offers a package to the farmer — a broad spectrum pesticide that can kill allmost all types of weeds and a GM crop that can withstand that pesticide. The net result is an increase in productivity.

2007-11-27 |

Indian Central Information Commission ordered disclosure of biosafety data

Bringing to an end the controversy over the disclosure of bio-safety data on genetically modified (GM) food crops, the Central Information Commission (CIC) on Thursday directed the department to make the data for Bt brinjal public. The CIC set aside the seed company, Mahyco’s argument before the Commission that the disclosure of such data has significant commercial implications to the company. The CIC bench headed by its chairman, Wajahat Habibullah said ; ”any further grounds for non-disclosure are invalid even if the information is in the process of development”. It directed the CPIO and the department of biotechnology to provide the information within 10 working days. The appeal was filed by Divya Raghunandan of Greenpeace India on February 23, 2006 asking the toxicity, allergenicity and other relevant data for GM brinjal, rice, okra and mustar

2007-10-19 |

Sacred plants might stop Bt eggplant trials in Karnataka (India)

Heritage and the humble brinjal have come in conflict in India’s southern Karnataka state, with the controversy even threatening to halt a US funded biotechnology project. [...] But Ramesh Bhat, one of India’s leading biologists and former deputy director of the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad, [...] says field trials of Bt-brinjal carry the danger of the Bt gene contaminating the native variety of brinjal called Mattu gulla which people consider ’sacred’ because its seeds were reportedly given to the people of Mattu village by the 15th century Hindu saint Vadiraja.

2007-10-06 |

GEAC’s (India) no to Sungro’s Bt brinjal; conditional yes for Bt cabbage

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has turned down the request of Sungro Seeds Research Ltd for largescale field trials of its six Bt brinjal hybrids. Sungro Seeds has developed six Bt brinjal, namely – SBJ 1 Bt, SBJ 2 Bt, SBJ 4 Bt, SBJ 6 Bt, SBJ 7 Bt and SBJ 8 Bt. The GEAC, in this context, noted that as these transgenic brinjals were developed by transfer of Bt brinjal event developed by Mahyco and ”as Mahyco’s Bt brinjal is still under review, the present request cannot be considered at this stage.”

2007-09-18 |

Greenpeace India questions ICAR move to conduct GE Brinjal field trials

Highlighting the imminent threat of genetically engineered food crops making its run through India’s food chain, Greenpeace today slammed the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for its scruffy act in collaborating in the large scale field trials of GE brinjal. Making a dig at babus and their political bosses, who have thrown all cautions to wind by allowing large scale field trials of GE food crops, Greenpeace activists, dressed like politicians were seen at Krishi Bhawan force-feeding genetically engineered brinjal to common men, who remain largely unaware about the dangerous implications of genetically modified food.

2007-08-23 |

Field trials permitted for Bt eggplants in India

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has permitted large-scale field trials of genetically modified (GM) food crops in the country but with certain restrictions. The varieties have been developed by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and Mahyco. The field trials of several varieties of Bt brinjal — the first food crop in the country — will be carried out in research farms at specified locations and not in the private fields.

2007-06-29 |

Loud no to Bt Brinjal in Orissa (India)

The Orissa government will not allow Bt Brinjal inside the state because it fears that the genetically modified crop may endanger the bio-safety of native farm products. ”We are not for any genetically modified (GM) crop, let alone Bt Brinjal. There is no credible scientific study to stand by the GM crops. Nor are there reports from any where in the country about farmers welcoming it,” agriculture minister Surendra Nath Nayak said. ”On the contrary, public protests against GM crops are galore,” he added.

2007-04-11 |

Greenpeace activist denied access to data on safety tests of GM crops

The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 has not helped Greenpeace activist Divya Raghunandan. Her demand for information about safety tests of genetically modified (GM) crops was rejected on the ground that disclosure could harm the competitive position of the third party — the company which developed the crops. In February 2006, Ms. Raghunandan applied to the Department of Biotechnology for information on a list of field trial locations (villages and districts) for brinjal, okra, mustard and rice. These trials drew widespread protests from farmers and consumers last year. In several places, rice trials were destroyed and exporters were particularly alarmed at transgenic rice being tested in basmati growing areas.

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