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.

2011-12-19 |

Future bleak for Indian eggplant speciality as it faces genetic contamination

The proliferation of BT brinjal around the village has led to a fall in yield of this exotic crop, grown in about 750 acres in a geographical area lying between Udyavar river in the east and Swarna river in the west. [...] The agriculture department had carried out surveillance and awareness campaign in the area against bio-contamination. “Our crops are getting pest infestations, leaf cutters (green jiggy jocids) and white fleas, which ruin the plants. These pests were the results of new varieties of egg plants (new types of brinjals) being promoted by the seed companies, I have gone to other fields across the Swarna river, where I found the farmers were growing genetically modified brinjals” said Vasudeva Bhat, a grower.

2011-12-08 |

Pesticide manufacturers oppose Bt brinjal in India says Russian professor

Opposition to introduction of Bt brinjal [...] is due to the interest of chemical pesticide manufacturers, who apprehend monetary losses in the event of introduction of this genetically engineered crop, says a pioneer in the field of genetically engineered crops, Alex K Gaponenko, from the Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology, RAS, Moscow. [He] told TOI that genetically engineered crop is the only viable alternative to feed the ever increasing population of the world, which traditional seeds cannot cater.

2011-11-08 |

Indian Bt cotton Bollgard II to be followed by Bt brinjal, Bt okra, and Bt rice

Bollgard II cotton has been cultivated in 84 lakh hectares in the country this year, according to Mr R. Barwale, Managing Director of Mahyco India Ltd. This is out of the 118 lakh hectares under cotton this year. [...] Earlier on Monday, the conference saw experts expressing concerns over the fact that Bt cotton is now accounting for 93 per cent of the total area under cotton. “Such a dominance could lead to elimination or disappearance of old and traditional varieties,” said Dr C.D. Mayee, Chairman of the National Organising Committee of the conference. “Bt cotton cannot be a panacea for everything,” he said.

2011-10-24 |

Alleged Bt brinjal biopiracy and India’s wake-up call

the minister of state for environment and forests, Jayanti Natarajan [...] said: ”NBA has decided to proceed as per law against the alleged violators on the basis of reports of the State Biodiversity Board for accessing and using the local brinjal varieties without prior approval of the competent authority.” [... Leo Saldanha] began investigating if the local farmers knew which varieties of brinjal were chosen by the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad for genetic modification with technology support from Mahyco, and whether they approved of this. Saldanha says he wanted to ensure that farmers, who conserved the varieties over generations, got their due under the access and benefit sharing provision of the Act.

2011-10-10 |

Indian official told U.S. advisor anti-GM belief fed by Europe, reveals WikiLeaks

When the embassy’s science and technology advisor Dr Nina Fedoroff met with Planning Commission deputy chairman Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia just before Ramesh made the announcement on February 9, Ahluwalia ’noted that many of the non-government organisations in India protesting Bt brinjal were in fact closely associated with and funded by European NGOs’. He also felt that the public consultation process on Bt brinjal initiated by Ramesh was ’one sided’.
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2011-09-09 |

Lift ban on Bt brinjal says Indian biotechnology scientist

Brinjal is not used for Indian systems of medicine and no one should prevent it from becoming the world’s first commercially available genetically modified food, scientists said. [...] ”One of the objections to genetically modified brinjal is based on the claim that it would tamper with the vegetable that is used for medicinal purposes. After a three-month study, I’ve found that raw brinjal is not used in any system of medicine [...] said Prof Kameswara Rao of the Foundation of Biotechnology Awareness and Education.

2011-09-07 |

Protesters say no to BT Brinjal in a unique way

The idea of BT Brinjal and genetically modified crops must be sounding delicious to the government, but it is not finding many takers in the farmlands and households. This is what Greenpeace, the NGO fighting against the introduction of genetically modified crops, claims. In a unique protest against BT Brinjal, Greenpeace, along with chefs of hotel Le Méridien, cooked 342 kg of organic brinjal bharta on Tuesday at Dilli Haat, making it a world record. Some bharta was also dispatched to Prime Minister’s house with a letter of protest.

2011-08-18 |

Heat on Monsanto over brinjal piracy

American seed giant Monsanto and its Indian collaborator, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company are to be prosecuted for allegedly ‘stealing’ indigenous plant material for developing genetically modified brinjal variety known as Bt brinjal. The National Biodiversity Authority, a statutory body set up under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, has decided to initiate legal proceedings against the two companies and their collaborators for using indigenous brinjal germplasm without necessary permission.

2011-08-10 |

Indian National Biodiversity Authority to take action against Bt Brinjal biopiracy

The development of Bt Brinjal was a case of biopiracy, according to the National Biodiversity Authority. According to sources, the NBA has finally concluded its year-long investigation and recommended action against the U.S. agribusiness giant, Monsanto, and its Indian collaborators, who developed and promoted the controversial, genetically modified vegetable. A decision to “take the case to its logical conclusion” was taken in an NBA meeting on June 20, according to official sources, who say, this means Monsanto and co could face criminal proceedings. When the NBA met on Tuesday, it discussed the “comprehensive evidence” and “supporting proof” gathered against Bt Brinjal’s promoters, say sources. “The NBA is now continuously moving forward in that direction,” said a senior official who refused to speculate on how long the process will take.

2011-08-09 |

Bt brinjal to be tested for ayurvedic qualities

More than a year after former environment minister Jairam Ramesh put an indefinite moratorium on commercial introduction of Bt brinjal in the country, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee has asked for additional tests on the ayurvedic qualities of the genetically modified brinjal. GEAC has asked Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co (Mahyco) to conduct the tests which would be assessed by the National Institute of Nutrition.

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