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Bt brinjal to bring $600 mn benefits to farm

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, July 4 (UNI) Bt brinjal, a genetically modified crop will bring benefits worth 600 mln Dollar to farmers in India, Bangladesh and Phillippines, Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project (ABSP) authorities claimed today.

ABSP a public private partnership supported by the USAID, developed this genetically modified food crop with support from biotechnology scientists at the Cornell University.

''Bt brinjal could be available to farmers for commercial cultivation by 2007 after regulatory approval. The benefits to farmers in the three countries where brinjal is the common man's food will be in the region of 600 million Dollar because of higher income to farmers and the saving of pesticide usage,'' Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project (ABSP) Regional Director K Vijayaraghavan told reporters.

He said resource constrained brinjal farmers, burdened by high yield losses due to Fruit and Stem Borer larva that feeds on the brinjal crop, could increase yields, reduce cultivation costs and save on pesticide use through insect tolerant Bt brinjal seeds that are now under testing.

However, ABSP failed to specify the difference between the costs of cultivating a hectare of Bt brinjal and that of normal brinjal.

The private sector project partner of ABSP is Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (MAHYCO), which is the Indian wing of Monsanto.

The public sector partners are Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR), Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, The East West Seeds company, Bangladesh, University of Philippines, Los Banos.

The public sector partners will breed, distribute and commercialise varieties of transgenic brinjal on a cost recovery basis.

MAHYCO said it had applied for extensive field trails of the crop after extensive animal safety studies and food and feed safety studies.

UNI ARB VJ KP1859

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