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Current Affairs

Genetically Modified rice in India

Date: 26 October 2021 Tags: Basics of Economics

Issue

Genetically Modified rice was discovered in a broken rice consignment imported from India in Europe.

 

Background

European Union has strict rules regarding use and consumption of Genetically Modified rice. This makes the rice unauthorized.

 

Details

  • After traces of modified genes were found in rice, the products and confectionaries that used this rice were forced to carry out a mass recall of products. 

  • The European authorities complained Indian officials about the incident. India has said that any contamination was unlikely as there is no permission for growing GM rice in the country.

 

GM crops

  • Foods that are derived from plants whose genes have been modified using genetic engineering are known as GM plants.

  • The genetic material of the plant is replaced with genetic material from another organism to give special characters to the plant.

  • The characteristics include tolerance to herbicide, higher yield, drought tolerance, resistance to pests and diseases, increasing nutritional value etc.

 

GM plants in India

Commercial cultivation of only Bt cotton is allowed in India. However trials are being conducted for more than 20 GM crops.

 

GM rice

GM rice is under trials across various research institutes. This includes varieties that improve protection against insects, diseases and enhance seeds production.

 

Export of GM varieties

  • There is no question of export of GM varieties when commercial cultivation of such crops is not allowed. Contamination could have occurred during processing.

  • The authorities have identified the source of the consignment, which has been given a non-GMO certification by testing agency before export.

  • Farm activists allege that “Illegal” cultivation of GM varieties is nothing new. Seeds of GM varieties of brinjal and cotton are already circulating among farmers.

 

Rice export from India

  • India is the largest exporter of rice in the world. About 75% of the exported rice is premium Basmati.

  • The importers of Basmati rice include west Asian countries, UK, USA. Non-Basmati rice export destinations include Nepal and Bangladesh.