Agricultural biotech is the emerging scientific area which is useful to breed more nutritious, high-yielding and less resource input-demanding crops. Agri biotech is the third largest contributor to Indian biotech industry during 2006-07 with a turnover of US$ 225 million, accounting for almost 11 per cent of the total biotech revenues. The agri-biotech industry has recorded Rs 8.65 billion of revenues in Indian domestic markets but the export revenues are abysmally small with Rs 0.49 billion in 2006-07. Recently, India has the fourth largest area (7.6 million hectares) under genetically modified (GM) crops. Almost entire area is occupied by Bt cotton. The market size of India’s Bt cotton seeds is estimated to be over US$ 203 million. Besides, Bt cotton, more than 20 biotech crops are under development by both public and private sectors in the country. In addition to that bio-fertilizers, bio-fuels and bio-pesticides are contributing to the growth of Indian agri-biotech market. The Indian government is supporting the agri-biotech industry through a regulatory framework, policies and fiscal incentives. The presence of skilled human resource pool, favourable intellectual property rights (IPRs) climate, increasing investment from government and private sectors provide impetus to the growth of agri-biotech sector in India. However, since the introduction of Bt Cotton for commercial cultivation, several controversies and agitations have emerged. Risks and benefits associated with biotech crops should be duly disseminated to the farming community. The government should strengthen the regulatory system for GM crops to address the food safety problems, environmental effect and genetic drift should be monitored. Controversies like farmers suicides due to failure of Bt cotton, cattle and goat deaths on grazing Bt cotton fields, should be clarified through scientific research. Public and private sectors should fully utilize the market opportunities provided by the crop biotechnology sector to progress Indian agriculture towards productivity and quality to sustain production for future generations.


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