"The director-general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Dr Mangla Rai has refuted the claims that the genetically modified (GM) potato developed in India contains 40 per cent more protien than the traditional varieties." (item 2)
"as per claims GM potato contains 2.8 per cent protien per 100 gram... it is evident that one cannot consume tonnes of potato per day to have a required level of nutritional intake." - Dr SM Paul Khurana, Director of the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) - (item 2)
"Once India is suspected of producing GM sugarcane, our exports will nosedive" - Director General of Indian Sugar Mills Association (item 3)
"news of India allowing commercial cultivation of Bt cotton and planning to release other GM food crops, has drawn the attention of many importing countries which are averse to GM foods." (item 4)
1.Monsanto does a RiceTec
2.ICAR Refutes Claims Of Higher Protein In New GM Potato
3.Japan suspects Indian sugarcane might be GM, sending team
4.Sugar Mills' Association Opposes GM Sugarcane
---1.Monsanto does a RiceTec, patents Indian wheat line [shortened]
NIDHI NATH SRINIVAS
The Economic Times, June 30 2003http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?msid=502
NEW DELHI: This is a new gene-grab story. After basmati and neem, Indian wheat has attracted foreign companies on the prowl for money-spinning genes and American seeds giant, Monsanto, has patented wheat invented by crossing a traditional Indian variety with another wheat line.
The wheat variety in question is Nap Hal, a primitive Indian land race. Monsanto says dough from its new wheat will be ideal for making bakery products like biscuits, crackers, wafers and crisps.
But gene-scientists and farmers here say this is a clear case of theft with the potential to stymie further breeding of high-quality varieties utilising this heritage wheat seed. Monsanto Technology was granted the patent last month by the European Patent Office based in Munich. The patent has been given both for the biscuits, flour, and dough produced from the wheat, as well as the plant itself. By owning this kind of patent, Monsanto could, in the future, potentially take legal action not only against farmers and scientists trying to breed wheat varieties with similar genetic traits, but also bakeries, confectioners and supermarkets if they produce or sell biscuits and other foods made from patented wheat.
When contacted, the Monsanto India office confirmed the patent, but had nothing more to add. International NGO Greenpeace, however, has much to say. In a statement on its website it says, "Monsanto is targeting and stealing from Indian farmers who have cultured this specific variety of wheat for centuries. This patent demonstrates the urgent need for a general legal ban on the patenting of genes, live organisms and seeds."
Greenpeace intends to file an objection to the patent over the coming weeks.
---2.ICAR Refutes Claims Of Higher Protein In New GM Potato
Ashok B Sharma
Financial Express, New Delhi, June 29http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=37226
The director-general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Dr Mangla Rai has refuted the claims that the genetically modified (GM) potato developed in India contains 40 per cent more protien than the traditional varieties.
Speaking to FE, Dr Rai said that it is premature to say what would be the protien content in the GM potato. He said that the controlled trials of diploid GM potatoes are over. But diploid potatoes are not for human consumption and hence it is not necessary to discuss the protien content in these potatoes. The trial results of tetraploid GM potatoes, which are meant for human consumption, would show what would be the protien content and to what extent it can help to remove malnutrional problems in the country.
Dr Rai said that so far only generation trials of teraploid GM potato has been conducted at a single location and data are awaited for assessment. More trials of tetraploid GM potatoes are needed for making a final assessment.
Dr Rai statement runs counter to that of the biotechnology secretary, Dr Manju Sharma who recently had told the BBC in Paris that GM potato will be released for commercial cultivation with six months and would be included in the mid-day meal programme for school children as it contains 40 per cent more protien than the tradtional varieties. The developers of the GM potato, Prof Asis Datta also claimed that it contains 40 per cent more protein.
Dr Rai, however, without naming any concerned person said that the GM potato needs final assessment before one could say about its protien content. GM potato cannot be released within six months as more trials are need, he said.
The director of the Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI), Dr SM Paul Khurana said "even if we are to believe that the protien content in GM potato claims has been increased to 2.8 per cent from 2 per cent in traditional varieties as claimed by the developers, it is not sufficient to solve the malnutrional problems." He further said "as per claims GM potato contains 2.8 per cent protien per 100 gram and it is evident that one cannot consume tonnes of potato per day to have a required level of nutritional intake."
Dr Khurana said that the GM potato developed by insertion of Ama-1 gene from Amaranthus plant into the background traditional varieties like Jyoti, Sinduri, Sutlej, Pokhraj and Jawahar. Ama-1 gene contains protiens like lysine, threonine, methionine and tyrocine. He said that the scientists at Jawaharlal Nehru University, National Institute of Nutrition and CPRI are still verifying the impacts of GM potato. He said that at least there should be two years of fields of GM potato in the hills and in the plains.
---3.Japan suspects Indian sugarcane might be GM, sending team
New Delhi, June 29 (UNI) India's allowing commercial cultivation of Bt cotton has made Japan, which is averse to Genetically Modified (GM) food, suspicious about its sugarcane and other crops as well.
A Japanese sugar industry delegation is visiting India on July 8 to ascertain whether it can import from here raw sugar produced from non-transgenic crops.
The delegation, led by Mr Osamu Kmikawa of Mitsui and Co and Mr Katswa Kakuda of Mitusubhishi Research Institute, will be taken around sugarcane fields across the country to verify that India is not growing GM sugarcane.
The Indian sugar industry is viewing Japan as a prospective buyer of raw sugar as Japan at present imports 1.5 million tonnes of raw sugar annually from different countries barring India, according to Director General of Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) S L Jain.
The Indian sugar industry is dead against cultivating GM sugarcane, Mr Jain said, adding, "Once India is suspected of producing GM sugarcane, our exports will nosedive".
---4.Sugar Mills' Association Opposes GM Sugarcane
Ashok B Sharma
New Delhi, June 29http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=37230
The Indian sugar industry is of the opinion that the country should not grow any genetically modified (GM) sugarcane, if it has to boost its exports. The dosmestic industry has also estimated a growing demand for raw sugar in the global market and has, therefore, demanded that the government render support and assistance to encourage production of raw sugar.
Speaking to FE, the director-general of Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), SL Jain said "planting of GM sugarcane should be avoided in the country as many importing countries have started rejecting GM foods. We are trying to tap new markets in Japan and Japanese importers have specifically told us that they would import sugar from India only if we can assure them that sugar produced in the country are from non-GM canes."
Mr Jain further said that a Japanese industry delegation led Mr Osamu Kmikawa of Mitsui & Co and Katswa Fukuda of Mitsubishi Research Institute is visting India on July 8, this year, to find out whether any GM canes are being grown in the country. He said that Japan currently imports about 1.5 million tonne of raw sugar every year from different countries baring India.
He said that the news of India allowing commercial cultivation of Bt cotton and planning to release other GM food crops, has drawn the attention of many importing countries which are averse to GM foods. He said that we must be very particular on this issue if we are to sustain our exports and food security.
"The European Union imports 10,000 tonne of raw sugar from India through tariff rate quota (TRQ) regime and if we go for cultivation of GM canes this market would also be disturbed. The European consumers are severely against consumption of GM foods," he said and added that efforts are on to see that EU gives more market access to Indian sugar. Mr Jain, however, complained that 40 per cent of the global exports of white sugar are being controlled by EU through domestic support regime. He said that the cost of sugar production in EU is about $ 800 per tonne, but they are able to sell their produce in the world market at about $ 200 per tonne. This is due to the governments in the EU keeping the domestic market prices as high as $ 1000 to $ 1100 a tonne. This high realisation from domestic market helps the industry to cross subsidise for exports, he said.
PINNING DOWN THE PR LIES - COMPREHENSIVE, READABLE, REVELATORY
Aaron deGrassis's "Genetically Modified Crops and Sustainable Poverty Alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Assessment of Current Evidence" Download the full report:http://www.twnafrica.org/docs/GMCropsAfrica.pdf
Read the press release:http://allafrica.com/stories/200306240443.html
For the section on the biotech industry's PR use of Africa:http://www.lobbywatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=1006
"After basmati and neem, Indian wheat has attracted foreign companies on the prowl for money-spinning genes" (item 1)