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7-Business: Indian-USA farm pact to help research and GE crop trials



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  India, USA farm pact to help research, crop trials
SOURCE: Business Standard, India
        http://www.business-standard.com/search/storypage_new.php?
leftnm=lmnu2&leftindx=2&lselect=1&autono=213564
DATE:   01 Feb 2006

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India, USA farm pact to help research, crop trials


A knowledge initiative for agriculture has been signed between the
ministries of agriculture of India and the United States of America,
said Madelyn E Spirnak, senior advisor for agricultural biotechnology,
US department of state at an interactive session at the Bengal National
Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Under the Initiative, the US agency for international development and
Indian institutes will undertake research and develop transgenetic crop
varieties.

Spirnak said work was underway to develop a pest resistant brinjal and
virus resistant groundnut, both of which will come for approval by 2007.

Efforts were on to develop drought-resistant rice and fungus resistant
potato, both of which would benefit Indian farmers, felt Spirnak.

Despite the advances made by other countries in adopting transgenetic
crops, India has approved only plantation of cotton.

Spirnak said India had a very stringent and scientific process of
approving crops and was making the process more streamlined and faster.

India has lagged behind the world, which saw 11 per cent growth in
transgenic crops planted between 2004 and 2005.

Around 90 per cent of the 8.5 million farmers planting transgenic crops
were from developing nations like China and Malaysia.

Spirnak felt the resistance of Indian farmers in adopting such crops was
caused by lack of communication between developers and users of crops.

She said the government needed to approach farmers to educate them about
the benefits of transgenic crops and allay their fears and suspicions
about them.

For consumers, websites including unified government websites were good
places to gather information about crops that have been approved.

Spirnak met officials of the department of biotechnology, the ministry
of health and the agriculture ministry in New Delhi to discuss the poor
acceptance of transgenic crops in India and policies to boost its promotion.


                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Indian fund for biotech subsidy of transgenic seeds
SOURCE: Newkerala.com, India
        posted by Checkbiotech, Switzerland
        http://www.checkbiotech.org/root/index.cfm?
fuseaction=newsletter&topic_id=2&subtopic_id=9&doc_id=12119
DATE:   26 Jan 2006

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Indian fund for biotech subsidy of transgenic seeds

The Association of Biotechnology led Enterprises (ABLE) has sought the
Centre to provide for a Rs 200 crore fund to compensate states that
provide subsidy specifically to approved transgenic seeds besides
relaxing of export oligation for biotech parks availing Special Economic
zone status.

In a pre budget memorandum to Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, ABLE
had stated that the deployment and growth of BT cotton seeds in the last
three years has unequivocally demonstrated the benefits of transgenic
technology in Indian Agriculture.

The transgenic seeds were currently costing three to four times more
than the price of the non-transgenic counterpart, basically due to high
ivnestments in developing and in licensing the technology besides the
high regulatory costs that commercialisation of such technologies entailed.

Though the high seed cost was more than compensated by the tangible
benefits that the technology provided, it made the technology
unaffordable, at least in the initial years to the small and subsistence
farmers of this country. Hence it sought partial subsidy to the seed
cost for small farmers which would not only enable technology
penetration but also help farmers gain the most from such technologies.
Further, subsidy for the approved varieties of transgenic seeds would
also effectively curb the menace of unapproved and fake transgenic
seeds, which is rampant in the country today ABLE said.

ABlE referring to the investment in the sector said Biotech
entrepreneurs face great difficulty in obtaining bank financing as this
sector has a high risk profile with long gestation period which were not
conducive to lending. Currently, lending to the Agri-business sector as
well as to Venture Funds was categorised as +Priority Sector Lending.
Whilst Agri-Biotech could avail of such lending, the rest of the sector
which was equally risk prone was unable to access such finance and hence
it recommended that lending to the Biotechnology sector be categorised
as Priority Sector Lending. This step would surely spur the Biotech
business in the country, ABLE said.


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