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.

2011-04-14 |

Who owns the Bt eggplant?

Almost forgotten in this tumult is the work of several public institutions, primarily the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore and the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, in genetically modifying the open pollinated varieties of brinjal whereas Mahyco is focused on doing it with hybrids. Of course, both institutions have been working with Mahyco on the project in what is described as a public private partnership, spearheaded by Cornell University of the US as the ABSPII project. Funding for the project comes from the Ford Foundation and USAID.

2011-04-07 |

First member of Indian biosafety committee quits over conflict of interest

Ahead of the first meeting of an expert committee of scientists to determine the kind of tests to be conducted on genetically-modified brinjal, commonly known as Bt brinjal, [P Anand Kumar] a prominent member of the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee has resigned from the panel. [...] More resignations are expected, as all those members who are associated with institutions that develop GM crops, supposedly have the same stand as that of Kumar.

2011-03-31 |

Mahyco (India) to look east for GM seeds market

With government restricting the introduction of genetically modified seeds in food items, Mumbai-based Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco) [which has US seed producer Monsanto as 26 per cent stakeholder] plans to sell such seeds in Bangladesh and Philippines. [...] ”Mahyco has approached with its technology for insect-tolerant Bt brinjal in Bangladesh and Phillipines. In both the countries, regulatory approvals are now awaited,” Raju Barwale, managing director of Mahyco Seeds told Financial Chronicle.

2011-03-10 |

Indian Environment Minister asks Committee to withdraw approval of Monsanto’s Bt maize trial in Bihar (India)

Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh has asked the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee to immediately withdraw its permission to Monsanto for field trials of Bt maize in Bihar. Bt brinjal was the first, and maize is the second food crop for which the GEAC has given permission for field trials in India. Mr. Ramesh’s intervention came after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told him personally that he was ”opposed” to field trials of Bt maize — a food crop — in Bihar as he was not aware of the risks involved and wanted the GEAC to withdraw its permission.

2011-02-01 |

Ban on Bt brinjal hurting Indian scientists

A leading Indian biochemist has urged the environment and forests ministry to lift the moratorium on Bt brinjal, the country’s first genetically modified food crop developed using a technology supplied by the US multinational seed giant Monsanto.”The moratorium is not affecting the multinational companies but India’s own scientists who are ready with more than a dozen GM crops, including (Vitamin-A rich) golden rice,” said Govindarajan Padmanabhan at the Indian Institute of Science here.

2011-01-14 |

Signs of food toxicity in genetically engineered eggplant (Brinjal)

Plans for India’s first genetically engineered crop for human consumption have triggered a safety report that reveals signs of food toxicity. According to this study prepared independently from industry, there are serious indications that the consumption of this genetically engineered eggplant (also called brinjal in India) can cause inflammation, reproductive disorders and liver damage.

2011-01-10 |

Indian biotech advocates hailing GM crops as the sole hope for India

Advocates of genetically modified crops, both in the private sector and the government research establishments, got an opportunity to press their case for lifting the moratorium on Bt brinjal and hailing GM crops as the sole hope for India, with the 98th Indian Science Congress here offering them a platform to air their views. Apart from a special lecture session by Shanthu Shanthanam, executive director of ABLEAG, New Delhi, which saw five speakers, most of them from the private sector, saying that India’s food security would be under serious threat without biotechnology, a plenary session echoed similar sentiments on Friday, the last day of the event.

2011-01-06 |

Indian Academies maintain Bt brinjal is safe

Last week, the academies submitted a modified report, reviewed by Mint, to the environment ministry. Much of its content is unaltered but appended with references and scientific claims attributed to relevant sources. Like the earlier report, it says that commercial release of Bt brinjal does not pose an environmental threat. However, such crops should be constantly monitored after their release for potential long-term health impact.

2010-11-18 |

Farmers stop 'secret' GM rice trials in Karnataka (India)

After Bt brinjal, it is the genetically modified rice that has started facing heat from the farming community. Right in the backyard of Bangalore, a GM rice field trial is being carried out on one of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra farms. Local farmers on Wednesday destroyed the paddy grown on the farm and set fire to some stacks to show their resistance to GM rice. Farmers of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha have been opposing genetically modified crops for a long time and are demanding seed independence.

2010-10-25 |

Indian Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises demands end of Bt brinjal moratorium

The Association of Biotechnology-led enterprises has demanded the early introduction of Bt Brinjal in the country for the benefit of farmers with withdrawal of moratorium on the commercialisation of the crop. [...] “Though the academic bodies have given positive feedback to the government regarding the introduction of Bt Brinjal, centre is yet to act on it,” T M Manjunath, consultant, agri-biotechnology and IPM and a member of ABLE said.

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