William Pentland, a Forbes contributor, claims the National Biodiversity Authority of India (NBA) has decided to sue Monsanto, and the company’s Indian partners who developed a genetically-modified eggplant.
Pentland notes that in 2009, Indian regulators gave the insect resistant eggplant carrying the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) gene the green light, but India’s former minister of the environment, Jairam Ramesh, imposed an indefinite moratorium on its cultivation only a few months later.
According to Pentland, NBA’s move is based on a complaint filed in 2010 by the Bangalore-based Environment Support Group (ESG), which alleges that the developers violated India’s Biological Diversity Act of 2002 by using local eggplant varieties in developing Bt eggplant without prior approval from NBA.
Last year, Reuters reported a genetically modified version of eggplant was slated to be the first GM food introduced into India, but Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh blocked its release following a vehement protest by environmentalists and farmers. “The opposition to GM foods was so heated that some protesters burned effigies”.
Ramesh claimed there was not enough public trust to support the introduction of GM crops into India’s food supply until more research was done to remove all doubts that GM foods were safe for consumption.
Seven years ago, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) approved GM cotton in India, which now grows on more than 80 percent of the total cotton area, making India the world’s second largest cotton producer and exporter after China, with about 5 million farmers growing Bt cotton.
Since India is the world’s second largest producer of eggplant after China, it’s easy to see why the GEAC is attempting to open the flood gates for the commercial cultivation of GM eggplant.
The GM eggplant seeds cost three times the price as regular seeds and farmers would need to purchase seeds for every growth cycle rather than reusing crop seeds. Monsanto shills say the extra costs are worth the expense because of pesticide costs crop devastation.
But as Reuters points out, a recent report by U.S. health and environment protection groups said that rather than reduce the use of pesticides, genetically engineered crops had actually prompted increased use of these chemicals, caused an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and resulted in more chemical residues in foods.
Monsanto would like nothing more than to perpetuate the widespread use of GM crops in India, thus rendering India and every other country totally dependent on Monsanto for one growth cycle Terminator seeds.