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Title: Agricultural biotechnology in India: ethics, business and politics
Authors: Gupta, Anil K.
Chandak, Vikas
Keywords: Agricultural biotechnology - India
Issue Date: 22-Jul-2010
Series/Report no.: WP;2004/1829
Abstract: Development of sustainable pest management strategies in agriculture has become necessary in view of increasing non-viability of chemical based approach. Among various approaches for the purpose, policy makers have paid far more attention to biotechnological alternatives. The first transgenic variety was approved for commercial trials in cotton. However, some companies incorporate the Bt gene from the approved varieties in other varieties and released such hybrids to the farmers. It so happened that these hybrids though illegal and released unethically proved more remunerative to the farmers. As if this was not enough, farmers made crosses of this hybrid developed by NABARD seed company and developed their own locally suited varieties. The paper describes the ethical, business and political dimensions of agriculture biotechnology in India with specific reference to the experience of Bt cotton in Gujarat. The neglect of IPM, herbal pesticides and bio control methods becomes even less justified when state not only tolerates but also encourages widespread experimentation of Bt cotton without any regulation or monitoring. Implications for future policy for technological change have been outlined in the paper.
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