GENET archive


6-Regulation: India set for new body to regulate use of GM crops

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  India set for new body to regulate use of GM crops
SOURCE: Reuters, posted by Checkbiotech, Switzerland
DATE:   16 Feb 2006

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India set for new body to regulate use of GM crops

NEW DELHI - The government is planning to set up a regulatory body to
oversee the use of controversial genetically modified crops and seeds,
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said on Thursday.

India opened its doors to the technology in 2002 after years of trials.
As a result, the Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Co. -- in which U.S. Biotech
giant Monsanto Co. has a 26 percent stake -- was allowed to sell
genetically modified (GM) cotton for sowing in several states.

Now four companies are selling GM cotton seeds in India, the seeds
containing an implanted gene from a bacterium species, bacillus
thuringiensis, which kills bollworm, a leading cotton pest.

"My government is in the process of setting up of a National
Biotechnology Regulatory Authority which will be the nodal authority for
release, import and post-release monitoring of GM crops and seeds," Kalam
told a joint session of the parliament.

Kalam said the move aimed to bolster GM seed testing laboratories since
quality control was an important issue.

The value of biotech crops is debated worldwide, with advocates saying
they offer a vast improvement in food security, while critics warn of the
possible emergence of new toxins and allergens.

Several Indian state-owned farm institutes, private seed companies and
universities are conducting trials on genetically modified mustard, rice,
potatoes and tobacco. India, the world's third-largest cotton producer,
is likely to produce 24 million bales of cotton in the year ending
September 2006.


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