India’s biotech industry looks to help boost African agriculture

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

Over the last year or so we have been doing some work exploring how the Indian seed sector might contribute to African agriculture, boosting productivity and assisting in particular smaller, poorer farmers. Could the seed sector replicate the great success of the generics pharmaceuticals from India that have revolutionised access to low cost drugs, with many benefits across the developing world?

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. . . [T]here’s the GM factor, an issue that has had less resonance in medical applications of biotechnology. Genetically-modified seeds – basically transgenics – have been highly controversial globally. And also in Africa, where there remain restrictions on their use in most countries,. . . But the Indian seed sector sees GM crops as essential for growth. . . . Bt cotton has filled the coffers of the seed companies across India, but now the market is saturated, and the extension of GM revolution in Indian agriculture has been stalled by controversies about transgenic food crops,. . . Business managers in the seed sector see exports of Bt cotton to Africa as a next frontier.

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. . . .The ‘Green Revolution’ experience is often held up as the example that Africa must follow. But as the report notes

“The development of India’s own seed industry, as well as India’s Green Revolution, were largely directed and supported by public investments and policy frameworks. Even then, the benefits of India’s agricultural transformation were not evenly or equitably distributed…. It is therefore not only a question of what profit-seeking seed firms from India might accomplish in pursuit of their own commercial interests, but how improving access to modern agricultural technologies might create broad benefits for cultivators and consumers, and for rural and national development”.

Read full, original post: Seeds for Africa’s green revolution: can India help?

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