Stung by India’s GM regulation, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company – one of India’s largest seed companies – is planning to take its new technology including GM seeds to other South Asian and African countries.
Stringent regulations and uncertainty in India regarding trial and commercialization of GM crops have derailed the company’s plans.
“The environment for science is very negative at the regulatory level because all the steps that the government has taken do not encourage innovation and agriculture is getting brunt of it,” says Usha Barwale Zehr, chief technology officer at Mahyco group.
The Mahyco research team has been working on insect and drought resistance cotton, rice and other crops. Mahyco is looking to move to countries like Vietnam, Tanzania and Zimbabwe to introduce its new seeds.
Mahyco says the Indian government at the highest level is positive on technology, science and innovation but when it comes to implementation, nothing is happening.
In India, the issue of GM technology has turned into a political and emotive issue with nationalist groups blocking the introduction of any new GM crops in the country.
The last GM seed that was introduced in India was of Bollgard Cotton II in 2006, after that the proposal to introduce Bt brinjal (eggplant) was rejected.
Mahyco’s Bt brinjal has been licensed to neighboring Bangladesh, which has allowed the use of the seed.