‘Probe how Bt brinjal seed was allowed to be commercialised’

In a major setback to the proponents of genetically modified technology in farm crops, the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture on Thursday asked the government to stop all field trials and sought a bar on GM food crops (such as Bt. brinjal). The committee report, tabled in the Lok Sabha, demanded a “thorough probe” into how permission was given to commercialise Bt. brinjal seed when all evaluation tests were not carried out.

The Bt cotton in question is the Bikaneri Narma (BN) Bt (variety) and the Bt NHH-44 (Bt hybrid) touted as the “first indigenous public sector-bred GM crop in India” developed by the Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur (CICR) and University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad (UAS) along with Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI).

Complaints that Mahyco is exploiting farmers, promoting black marketing and ignoring rules have led the Maharashtra government to call into question the agri biotechnology company’s licence to prod

Agriculture seed major Mahyco, which has been accused of black marketing its seeds and distributing it without informing the State Government, could well stand to lose its license to sell seeds in

Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co Ltd (Mahyco) has denied reports of short supply of the Bt cottonseed in Andhra Pradesh.

With low output prices, farmers shifting to other crops MSP rise not enough to check this trend, say suppliers

Lower cotton prices have prompted cotton seed making companies to be ready for a dent in their sales this year. Most of these fear seed demand would drop 12-15 per cent nationally, as more and more farmers have started switching from cotton to maize, groundnut and guar instead. They are pessimistic on a recovery in demand even after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) revised the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for cotton today,

The controversy surrounding Bt brinjal, the first genetically modified food crop developed in India, has turned murkier with the National Biodiversity Authority planning to launch prosecution again

Given that the controversy over success and failure of Bt technology still exists, this paper discusses the available field studies that have addressed agro-economic questions of Bt cotton cultivation in India. Since a meta-analysis of studies can give only partial conclusions, owing to differences across study methodologies and coverage, this paper takes a different strategy, i e, looking not simply at differences between Bt farms and non-Bt farms, but at the experience of farmers before growing Bt and after switching to Bt.

For the first time, the State government filed cases of cheating and criminal breach of trust in 18 districts against Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco) for failing to deliver the promised quota of a single variety of Bt cotton seeds in th0e 2011 kharif season.

Official sources said before sowing last year, Mahyco had accepted bookings from dealers and retailers for 16.76 lakh packets of MRC 7351 variety Bt cotton seeds but delivered only 9-10 per cent of what was assured.

Competition is tough in the seed market, which may explain why marketing gimmicks are often used to woo farmers.