After the debacle of its GM cotton...
Monsanto to begin GM corn trials in India soon
The Economic Times via NewsEdge Corporation, 9th June 2003
Monsanto has imported two kg of transgenic maize into the country and will begin pollen flow studies very soon - in this khariff season. The Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation has authorised the studies which is the first step in a long and complicated regulatory process which may run to several years.
Reliable sources in the company revealed that the Roundup Ready corn seeds were imported through the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Research (NBPGR) who received it and conducted checks before declaring satisfaction over the "research material."
Roundup is the name of Monsanto's agricultural herbicides. And as the name implies, Roundup Ready corn will not be destroyed if Monsanto's herbicide is used to kill all other weeds that damage and destroy maize. This GM corn has cleared food, feed and environmental safety regulations in US, Canada and Japan. However, country-specific clearance is required due to the varying agro-climatic and soil conditions.
"Corn has greater pollen flow than cotton. It would require a large enough area and we are looking at various options, mostly agricultural universities, to conduct the study," the sources said. Confirming the development, government sources said that a single location pollen flow study would begin at the Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth in Rahuri in Maharashtra by end June. "The present habit of hand-picking of weeds is not effective and takes a heavy toll on the farmer. A proven herbicide tolerant corn means they can resort to spraying which is more convenient,'' sources said.
Pollen flow studies essentially means studying the pattern of pollen scatter and whether it would affect other varieties of corn or other crops. Following this a range of biosafety studies also have to be done to establish its effect on flora, fauna, humans, environment and so on only after which the RCGM will give its nod.
The agronomic evaluation would be the next stage involving limited and large-scale field trials to be cleared by the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee. It is only after this that the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee will take a view.
All regulatory studies would be done under guidance, including the ministries of environment, agriculture and science and technology as also expert bodies involved are all inter-ministerial.
Indian farmers judge GM crops http://ngin.tripod.com/indjury.htm
for the reality of farming with GMOs: http://ngin.tripod.com/farming.htm