Genetically Modified Crops in India: The Bt Brinjal Controversy

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Case Details:

Case Code : BENV017
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 2006-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Monsanto Holdings P Ltd
Industry : Agricultural biotechnology
Countries : India

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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.

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Introduction Contd...

India, as a party to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD)7 and as a country which ratified the Cartagena Protocol (CP)8, is committed to the safe handling of living or genetically modified organisms (LMOs or GMOs).

The CP provides a broad framework on biosafety, especially focusing on transboundary movements of GMOs and also covers seeds that are meant for intentional release in 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. Introduced into the country in the year 2002, Bt cotton became the subject of many a controversy.

Its performance, sale of illegal seeds, its impact on the environment, biodiversity, and health of livestock were all hotly debated.

The debate was further fuelled by the fact that there were wide differences in the performance results obtained by studies sponsored by the company, independent researchers, and NGOs.

The GEAC announcement regarding Bt brinjal, a food crop that originated in India, served to intensify the biosafety debate.

Background Note

Biosafety can be broadly defined as those safety concerns regarding damage to human beings, the environment, and other living beings due to intentional or unintentional, authorized or unauthorized experiments using biotechnology.

These concerns have surfaced in view of the opening up of agriculture for international trade through which the trading of GMOs takes place.

 Excerpts >>

7] Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) is an international treaty adopted in 1992. It aims to conserve biological diversity, promote its sustainable use, and ensure fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of its genetic resources.

8] Cartagena Protocol (CP) is an international treaty adopted to regulate the transboundary movement of GMO's and protect the biological diversity and human health that may be threatened by the introduction of GMOs.


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