Crop Biotech Update

Biotech Critics Seeks Complete Ban on GM Crops in India

June 5, 2019
An Indian farmer has been reported planting insect resistant Bt brinjal, which is not yet approved in the country. Biotech critics pushed for complete moratorium on GM crops cultivation. 

According to investigation, the farmer purchased the Bt brinjal seeds at a bus stop in Haryana. He was looking for seeds that exhibit resistance to fruit and shoot borer, a major pest problem in brinjal production. He was not aware that the seed he bought was not yet approved for planting in India. When biotech critics found out about the Bt brinjal plantings, they filed a public interest litigation in the supreme court, requesting for a total ban on GM crops. To date, only Bt cotton is approved to be planted in the country. Aside from Bt brinjal, high yielding GM mustard is also pending cultivation approval in India due to public pressure. "The current state of GM crops in India is afflicted with policy paralysis," said Deepak Pental, genetics expert and project leader of the GM mustard research. 

"It's a victory for activists who have used every means to scuttle the use of GM technology," Former Director of the Indian Institute of Science commented on the issue. "There cannot really be a scientific reason [to ban all GM crops], but only political compulsions have made the government dither," he added. 

Read the original article from The Royal Society of Chemistry.