Anti-GMO activists move to block Bt insect-resistant eggplant field trials in India

Credit: Cornell Alliance for Science

Ten years after imposing a moratorium on commercial release of genetically modified Bt Brinjal, the [federal government] has now allowed biosafety research field trials of two new transgenic [GMO] varieties of indigenously developed Bt Brinjal [eggplant] in eight states during 2020-23.

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)— a central regulator which allowed confined field trials of new varieties of Bt Brinjal— has, however, asked the applicant to begin it only after taking no-objection certificate (NOC) from states concerned ….

These indigenous transgenic varieties of brinjal hybrids …. are developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Research Center on Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB).

Related article:  Fall armyworm adds bitter note to farmer’s ‘sweet and sour journey’

Opposing the GEAC’s order, the …. farmers’ body, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), has written to chief ministers of [the] concerned states, requesting [they don’t approve the] field trials of two transgenic Bt Brinjal varieties.

The BKS representatives …. have also met Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar, requesting him to revoke the GEAC’s order.

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