Agri biotech firms form an alliance

To promote adoption of global advances in agri-technology, seeds and plant breeding

September 04, 2018 11:47 pm | Updated 11:47 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Nine agri biotech companies have come together to form ‘Alliance for Agri Innovation’, a body to promote adoption of global advances in agri-technology, seeds and plant breeding in the country.

Besides this, it will also work for enhanced investments in the area, create public awareness of the issues as well as work with government and regulatory authorities towards a more supportive policy environment, said Ram Kaundinya, Advisor to the Alliance.

Stating that a few more firms were also expected to join the Alliance, he said the challenges faced by agri biotech companies pertained to the regulatory process, intellectual property protection and price control.

In a media interaction here on Tuesday, Mr. Kaundinya and Executive Director of the Alliance Shivendra Bajaj said only Bt cotton is permitted in the country. The process and time taken for allowing other such crops, they said, had resulted in many of the member companies of the Alliance scaling down research operations in the area and as a corollary, laying off people.

Mr. Kaundinya said the Alliance’s stand is that permission for other crops should be approved after thorough evaluation. “Once the regulatory body is happy with the data, they should approve,” he said, adding a political will to permit the same was lacking.

The government’s decision to prescribe the price of Bt cotton is also worrisome for the companies as it may set a pattern for any future GM product too. “We believe the prices should be decided by the market not by the government,” he said.

The Alliance would be working with regulators, including on different evaluation and assessment methodologies as well as risk assessment.

Mr. Bajaj said many biotech companies were likely to consider Philippines to undertake trial on GM rice. “There the regulations are clear, they have very strict regulations, but they don’t change...” he added.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.