‘Delayed commercialisation hampering GM crops development’

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‘Delayed commercialisation hampering GM crops development’

Mumbai, Apr 2 (PTI) The delayed commercialisation and persisting negative sentiment in the industry for genetically modified (GM) crop may hamper the greater scientific research and development in the sector, says a report.

“India has recorded a CAGR of 4 per cent in area under cultivation of GM crops from CY 2010 to CY 2015 whereas Brazil has recorded CAGR of 10 per cent during the same period.

“Adoption of GM seeds, be it for food crops or industrial crops, in the domestic market still faces significant resistance from its opponents, with some of the key concerns being threat to bio-diversity, safety aspects for human consumption, lack of transparent regulatory framework and possibility of concentration of pricing power with large multinational corporations,” ratings agency Icra said in its report here.

“Post adoption of Bt cottonseed, India has gone slow on adoption of GM seeds. Despite the industry working on development of many GM seeds, there has not been any commercialisation beyond Bt cottonseed in past several years.

“The industry faces significant negative sentiment against the GM crops especially in the food sector. Delayed commercialisation and persisting negative sentiment in the industry could hamper the greater scientific research and development in the sector.

“Delays remain a concern given the rising population and need for increasing yields to support the growing demand,” Icra Associate Head and AVP – Corporate Ratings Sachin Sachdeva said.

The domestic seed industry is witnessing increased level of activity over field testing of GM seeds over the last two years. Field trials of GM seeds for crops such as cotton, rice, maize, brinjal, mustard and chickpea are underway in some states.

However, the pace of adoption of GM seeds in India so far has been slow with commercialisation of only one GM crop in last 15 years whereas other countries such as the US, China, Canada and Brazil have commercialised eight, five, four and three GM crops, it added.

Rising global population is putting pressures on farmlands to produce more food, especially in developing countries like India and given that the area under cultivation cannot be increased beyond a certain limit, the only way to increase production is through yield improvements, the report said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.