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.

2011-07-25 |

After BT cotton, Mahyco (India) bets on genetically modified okra & rice

The genetically modified vegetable BT brinjal may be still mired in controversy but that has not deterred its maker Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co (Mahyco) from going ahead with BT okra (ladies finger) and rice. According to Usha Barwale Zehr, joint director of research at Mahyco, the company is currently conducting bio-safety tests for BT okra and rice, and once they are done, permission will be sought for field trials.

2011-06-24 |

Why Bt cotton was introduced in the Indian fields while Bt brinjal was embargoed

Bt brinjal fared poorly in comparison because its farmers are not so powerful as a lobby. Those who grow brinjal grow other crops as well. They do not control a lot of land and earn no forex. They are also not organised as cotton farmers are. There are only about half a million hectares of brinjal grown in India — cotton is closer to 10 million hectares. The number of brinjal farmers is around 1.4 million scattered all over the country unlike the greater concentration of cotton farmers in Gujarat and Maharashtra. For such reasons, brinjal farmers got no such support from any of the states. The GEAC science, in this case, was successfully attacked by a Union cabinet minister.

2011-06-22 |

Indian GM chickpea undergoes food safety tests in US lab

Research into genetically modified crops continues for B.K. Sarmah and others working in the agricultural biotechnology department of the Assam Agricultural University, as the debate over the safety of such produce, like the BT brinjal, rages elsewhere. A product of the department, the weevil resistant chickpea, (but mah), is currently being tested in a university in America to determine how safe it is for human consumption. ”The tests for allergencities in human beings will be completed in the next six months to one year and then the bio-safety can be proved without doubt,” said Sarmah, the professor of the department.

2011-06-10 |

Indian seed company Mahyco highlights merit of Bt brinjal hybrids

Even as the government continues with moratorium on biotech crops, a leading seed company has contended that Bt brinjal hybrids have greater resistance to pests and significantly higher yield. This has been demonstrated after field tests in more than 50 locations that represent major brinjal growing regions in India during 2004 to 2008, Usha Barwale, Chief Technology Officer of leading private sector seed company Mahyco, told a team of visiting journalists.

2011-06-01 |

Indian plant biotechnologists feel demoralised by Bt brinjal moratorium

Indian plant biotechnologists feel demoralised and displeased at the recent developments concerning genetically modified crops. Their dismay is chiefly because the indefinite moratorium on the release of genetically engineered Bt-brinjal has clouded the prospects for several other GM crops that are in the pipeline. [...] Their displeasure is largely because the present opposition to the GM technology is based chiefly on misconceived apprehensions and not on proven facts.

2011-05-26 |

Partial release of Bt Brinjal is ’contaminate and get approval’ Indian experts say

The ongoing debate over the commercial release of genetically-modified crop Bt Brinjal in the country, heated up once again in a recent meeting of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee. [...] From among those who attended, only Dr P M Bhargava, founder of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, opposed any kind of release of Bt Brinjal, while Prof. M S Swaminathan, noted agricultural scientist, and others were keen to discuss further.

2011-05-16 |

No limited release of Bt brinjal, says Indian Minister of Environment

The moratorium imposed on Bt brinjal last year is likely to continue, despite the expert committee, set up by the environment ministry, favouring ”limited release” of the crop. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh yesterday made it clear [...] ”There is no such thing as limited release” [...] Majority of the 16-member Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee [...] favoured limited release of the genetically modified variety under strict monitoring. [...] Dr Pushp Bhargava, a GEAC member, however said, there were no recommendations by the committee. Limited release was just an opinion. ”People who had vested interest only favoured partial release,” she said.

2011-05-12 |

Panel set up to review all Indian GE crop field trials

After moratorium on BT Brinjal, the environment ministry will review all existing field trials of the genetically modified crops in India for safety and the protocols of safety adopted by trial agencies. A committee is being set up on directions of the Supreme Court, which wanted the government to constitute a panel to advise it on safety aspects of GM crop field trials. Several field trails of GM recrops including rice, tomato, brinjal and cotton are going on in different parts of the country.

2011-05-03 |

No decision taken at Indian experts meeting on Bt Brinjal

No decision was taken at the first meeting of experts that deliberated on issues relating to the moratorium on the commercial release of Genetically Modified Bt Brinjal. [...] Noted agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan, however, recused himself from the meeting. He told The Hindu that being a member of a Parliamentary Committee that was looking into the issue of Genetically Engineered Crops and Genetically Modified Organisms, he would not participate in any such deliberations.

2011-05-03 |

New Indian BT Brinjal panel has conflict of interest warn NGOs

Seven of the 16 members expert panel to examine new safety standards for BT Brinial, on which moratorium was imposed in February 2010, had a role to play in giving approval to India's first genetically modified food crop BT Brinjal. The panel has national advisory council member Madhav Gadgil, PM Bhargava, an independent GM expert,G Padmanabhan, Emeritus professor at Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, and Bala Prasad, chief executive officer of National Medicinal Plants Board as members.

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