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2-Plants: Concerns raised over GM food trials in Andhra Pradesh (India)

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

TITLE:  Concerns raised over GM food trials in AP
SOURCE: NDTV, India, by Tejeswi Pratima
DATE:   09 Mar 2006

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Concerns raised over GM food trials in AP

Hyderabad: After Bt Cotton and Bt Bhindi, it is now the turn of Bt Rice
and Bt Brinjal to stir a hornet's nest.

The increasing varieties of GM food crops under trials in Andhra Pradesh
could have grave health hazards.

In December, NDTV reported on the genetically modified Bt Bhindi being
grown in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. This was in gross
violation of biosafety norms.

More trials

Now the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture informs that seed company
Mayhco also conducted field trails for Bt Brinjal and Bt Rice in Kurnool
and Ranga Reddy districts in the Kharif season of 2004.

"In all three cases we have found that there are a lot of biosafety
violations," said Kavitha Karuganti, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

"These include contamination of the supply chain, people selling untested
products in the local markets and farmers consuming it without knowing
what it is," she added.

Like in the case of Bt Bhindi, the state government says that it has
neither been informed nor was it aware of any such trails.

"It is the duty of the GESC to inform the state government, more
particularly the agriculture department and the university before they
start trials," said N Raghuveera Reddy, Agriculture Minister, Andhra Pradesh.

"Only then it will be possible for us to send our extension officers on
the job," he added.

Policy missing

While a concrete policy for GM food crops has still not been formulated,
the very fact that such trials are being allowed in farmer's fields and
not on company campuses or green houses is a very serious concern.

Though limited trails are being allowed, the possibility of these seeds
being used again by the farmers who have no idea of the possible health
hazards cannot be ruled out.

European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
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