If the request for testing hybrid brinjal varieties is accepted, the company will approach the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the biotechnology regulator in India, for testing guidelines.
There is good news for the farmers cultivating vegetables. Company of Maharashtra, Bejo Sheetal Seeds Private Limited Ne Janak and first filial generation named BSS- 793 hybrid brinjal varieties have been developed. Now this company has demanded a university in Karnataka to conduct biosafety tests of Bt brinjal varieties. The move comes just after the genetically modified (GM) mustard received the Centre’s environmental nod.
Nandkumar Kunchage, director of Bejo Sheetal, claimed that the brinjal varieties are developed through crop breeding techniques and outperform their natural varieties with better quality, uniformity and yield. The special thing is that the Bt varieties of Janak and BSS- 793 have been developed using transgenic technology developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI). It uses the Bt gene, Cry1 FA1 gene, which is patented by IARI.
Karnataka has requested
According to Down To Earth, the company has requested the University of Horticultural Sciences, Bagalkot, Karnataka, to conduct the trial. The director said that Bejo Sheetal had licensed the technology in 2005. It is specially developed for resistance against pests like shoot and fruit borer Lucinodes orbonalis. Resistance in varieties has been reported up to 97 percent. This means that if you pick 100 fruits, 97 are marketable without damage.
Its cost is also an average of Rs 35,000 per hectare.
He said that stem borer insects can damage more than 88 percent of the crops, which can reach up to 95 percent in the rainy season. Kunchge said that in general the loss is 11-93 per cent of the production. Nandkumar Kunchage said the introduction of the GM variety would help in controlling the number of sprays required, ranging from 23-140, which is more than 35-40 per cent of the production cost. Its cost is also an average of Rs 35,000 per hectare.
protect consumers from pesticide residues
Kunchage claimed that hybrid varieties would save consumers from pesticide residues. According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, “About 14 percent of the pesticide use in vegetable crops and brinjal in India is reported to be 4.6 kg of pesticide active ingredients per hectare.” Pesticide residues from overspray were reported in 9.5 percent of samples above the minimum residue level. These are harmful and cause many chronic diseases like cancer. The Bt brinjal variety will help combat such toxic chemicals.
Seed requirement will be estimated
If the request for testing hybrid brinjal varieties is accepted, the company will approach the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the biotechnology regulator in India, for testing guidelines. If the guidelines are received in time, then in the Kharif season, testing will be done in one hectare area under the supervision of the scientist or crop breeder nominated by the university. Seed requirement will be estimated after the trial plan is approved by GEAC.