Hybrid seeds, including biotech seeds, represent new business opportunities in India based on yield improvement, according to Usha Barwale Zehr, chief technology officer of Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company.

“Approximately 7,000 plant species are estimated to be used for human consumption, of which just four crops - wheat, maize, rice and potato - provide half of the total world food production and 15 crops contribute two-thirds. Many of these crops are grown in India, which has the potential to become a major producer of biotech rice and vegetables,” she told Business Standard.

It contributed to a cumulative national farm income of $9.4 bn between 2002 and 2010

Bt cotton has delivered significant benefits to all members of the agricultural value chain in the country, and has contributed to a cumulative national farm income of about $9.4 billion between 2002 and 2010, turning India from an importer of cotton to an exporter, according to T M Manjunath, a consultant in agricultural biotechnology and integrated pest management.

Pending ratification of the Nagoya Supplementary Protocol, non-government organisations (NGOs) are demanding that the Indian government enact a domestic legislation for liabilities and redress of living-modified organisms (LMOs).

The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on liability and redress to the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety closed for signature in March 2012 with a total of 51 signatories, including India. The Supplementary Protocol dealt with the liability and redress on damage resulting from living modified organisms (LMOs).