. . . . There are very few companies in India engaged in genetic engineering to improve the yields of crops or help them cope with drought, salinity or specific pests. But quite a few have shut down or pruned their research departments because of regulatory uncertainty.
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India is a tough place for agri-biotechnology companies. . . .
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. . . . National sample surveys have shown that labour has a significant share in agricultural costs. Workers are not available for activities like weeding . . . Large swathes in Gujarat, therefore, have been planted with smuggled herbicide-tolerant cotton. . . .
Bt technology developed by public research institutions and private companies, if allowed for use in pigeonpea (tur) and chickpea (chana) against pod borers would save about a third of the harvest, and provide relief from rising prices.
If India is squeamish about foreign-produced science, it must develop its own, says Arvind Subramanian. Otherwise, the country’s dependence on imported science will increase. . . Agri-biotechnology does not attract the country’s young researchers; they do not see a future in it.
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