Drought stricken Indian state of Maharashtra looks to GM sugar cane to preserve crop

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Scientists of a sugar research institute headed by Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar will soon visit Indonesia for the second time to study a genetically modified drought-resistant variety of sugarcane, which may provide a lifeline to the distressed cooperative industry in drought-hit Maharashtra. . . .

“The director general of Icar (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) had convened a meeting in Delhi in this context…As the varieties are drought resistant, we are keen to introduce them in India with due regard to Indian legislation, Supreme Court judgements, etc,” said Pawar.

A team of scientists from the institute has already made a visit to Indonesia in this regard. “When our team visited the fields, the crop, which was eight months old and had not been irrigated for four months, was standing lush green,” said Shivaji Deshmukh, director general, Vasantdada Sugar Institute. The GM varieties of sugarcane that have caught the institute’s attention have not yet been released for cultivation by farmers. Currently, no country in the world produces sugar from GM sugarcane.

According to a report by the United States Department of Agriculture, Indonesia — one of the largest sugar importers in the world — has given food safety approval to three GM varieties of sugarcane.

The prevailing drought in Maharashtra has once again triggered concerns about the water-guzzling cane crop. The reservoirs in the state have just 47 percent live storage as on Monday, compared to 66 percent a year ago and 78 percent in 2013. This may lead to a substantial reduction in th ..

Read full, original post: Maharashtra may benefit from drought-resistant Indonesian sugarcane

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