Indian rice exporters against allowing large scale trial of GM rice

Indian rice exporters against allowing large scale trial of GM rice

Indian rice exporters against allowing large scale trial of GM rice
Our bureau
New Delhi, Apr 9:

India’s rice exporters have expressed concern against allowing large scale field trials of Genetically Modified (GM) rice which may adversely impact its marketability abroad.

Recently, the Genetically Modified Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the ministry of environment and forest had approved ‘confined field trial’ of 10 agricultural crops including rice. However these approvals for field trials are subjected to getting Non-Objection Certification (NOC) from the concern state government.

Besides other crops, the trials approved by GEAC in February include Bayer Bio-science’s GM rice for insect tolerance, Mahyco and BASF India’s proposals on GM rice.

“There might also be questioned raised on Indian rice growers adopting GMO varieties purely for the higher yield and pest resistance while choosing to ignore the undesirable effects on consumers,”” M P Jindal, President, All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) said.

Jindal said until there are conclusive reports based on extensive testing in controlled environments, its against the interest of the rice industry to support large scale trials of GM crops.

However, KV Prabhu, Deputy Director, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) said trials approved by GEAC is only for restricted cultivation under strict supervision. “Large scale trails of GM rice would take time after obtaining scientific validation,” Prabhu noted.

The Indian government has approved commercial cultivation BT cotton while commercial cultivation of BT brinjal has been put under moratorium since 2010.

India, world’s biggest rice exporters, ships grain to mostly to middle east countries, US, EU and many African countries

Meanwhile, sharp rise in global demand for Basmati rice and and in Africa and Asian countries for non-Basmati rice , India is all set emerge as world’s top rice exporters in the 2013-14.

According to AIREA estimate, more than 3.9 mt of Basmati rice and 6 mt of non-Basmati rice was exported in 2013-14. In the previous two fiscal, India had shipped 10 mt of key foodgrain.

Thailand and Vietnam are the other key rice exporters, who ship around 7 mt of rice annually each.

India is all set to earn close to Rs 40,000 crore from the rice exports this fiscal from Rs 33,000 crore earned in the previous year.

Apart from Iran, other key destinations for Indian Basmati are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Iraq. Non-Basmati rice is exported to mostly African countries including Nigeria and Senegal besides many Asian countries.

The last seven years have been watershed years as far as India’s basmati rice exports go. From a modest Rs 2,792 crore in 2006-07, exports have increased manifold to cross the Rs 25 ,000-crore mark during the last fiscal.

A commerce ministry official said that the rice exports have been rising steadily since the government lifted a 4-year-long ban on non-Basmati rice exports in September 2011

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