Genetically Modified Crops in India: The Bt Brinjal Controversy

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BENV017 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Business Environment/ Sustainable Development/ Public Policy
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 2006-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Monsanto Holdings P Ltd
Industry : Agricultural biotechnology
Countries : India


This case discusses the introduction of Bt brinjal in India in the backdrop of the controversy surrounding genetically modified (GM) crops in India. Monsanto Holdings P Ltd, a US based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation that promoted GM crops in India through Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech (a 50:50 joint venture between Monsanto and Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company) found itself in the center of this debate.

India, as a party to the Convention on Biodiversity and having ratified the Cartagena Protocol (CP) is committed to the safe handling of living modified organisms (LMOs) or GMOs. CP provides a broad framework on biosafety especially focusing on transboundary movements of GMOs and also covers seeds that are meant for intentional release into the environment, as well as those GMOs that are intended for food, feed or used in food processing.

Bt cotton was the first transgenic crop to be released in India. After its introduction in the year 2002, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Bt cotton. Its performance, impact on the environment, biodiversity and health of cattle has been widely debated.

With the regulatory body for approving GM crops in India, Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), announcing its approval for large scale field trials for Bt brinjal in September 2007, some analysts opined that Bt brinjal would have a significant economic impact on farmers while some raised doubts on its safety and environmental implications.


Analyze the business environment for GM crops in India.

Study the regulatory environment pertaining to GM crops in India.

Understand the Biosafety protocol and its necessity and relevance to developing countries like India.

Understand biosafety governance in India: its accuracy and lacunae

Discuss the role of activists and researchers in influencing policies


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety 2
The Cartagena Protocol in India 3
Transgenes in India 5
Status of Bt Brinjal 7
Two Sides of the Brinjal Story 9
Exhibits 7


Business environment, Regulatory environment, Sustainable development, Biodiversity, Public policy, Genetically modified crops, Biosafety, Cartagena protocol, Genetic engineering, Biotechnology, Agriculture, Monsanto, Mahyco-Monsanto, Bt cotton, Bt brinjal

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