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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

All you wanted to know about Bt brinjal : Rediff.com Business

All you wanted to know about Bt brinjal : Rediff.com Business

Rediff Business Desk

Bacillus Thuringiensis Brinjal, popularly known as Bt brinjal, is at the centre of a major controversy in India.
Bt brinjal, a genetically modified strain created by India's number one seeds company Mahyco in collaboration with American multinational Monsanto, claims to improve yields and help the agriculture sector.
However, the debate over the safety of Bt brinjal continues with mixed views from scientists working for the government, farmers and environment activists.
Environment activists says the effect of GM (genetically modified) crops on rats have shown to be fatal for lungs and kidneys. It is dangerous to introduce these experimental foods into the market without proper research, they say.
A study by French scientist Gilles-Eric Seralini says the tests conducted by Mahyco, the company producing Bt brinjal, were simply not valid and raised serious health concerns.
Besides the environment hazards, activists allege that the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has shown a bias towards companies like the Monsanto.
This would be a big threat to India's agriculture with MNCs charging Indian farmers for their seeds. The supply of seeds will be regulated and thus costlier. Indian farmers would have to depend on MNCs for seeds.
Bt cotton has already been declared a farce with crop failures and mass suicides of farmers in India. What will be the fate of Indian agriculture, farmers and consumers if Bt brinjal and other genetically modified crops are introduced?

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