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Scientists Believe This Rabi Can Produce GM Mustard

The Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) should be able to conduct studies and large-scale seed production of the recently approved genetically modified mustard hybrid DMH-11 within the next 10 to 15 days, according to scientists from the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) and the Trust for the Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS).

The organizations also said unambiguously that the GEAC's approval for "environmental release" and following letters to Dr. Deepak Pental, one of the primary applicants for the mustard hybrids, verified that no more licenses are required, and that development may continue.

NAAS and TAAS are organizations that serve as policy advocates and think tanks for the nation's finest agricultural scientists. They suggested that further studies be conducted in mustard-growing states such as Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh.

The agriculture ministry oversees ICAR, India's premier agricultural research and education body. It is home to 71 universities and more than 111 institutes. BT cotton is the only non-food crop approved for commercial cultivation in India.

There are now around 10 kilograms of mother DMH-11 seeds available. Approximately 2 kilograms have already been received by the ICAR's Directorate of Rapeseed and Mustard in Bharatpur, signaling that more study will soon commence. 

Furthermore, according to T. Mohapatra, president of NAAS, the window for planting mustard during the current rabi season may close in the next 10 to 15 days, demanding fast action.

Farmers can use GM mustard for commercial reasons if all goes as planned in less than three years. "In the current rabi season, it would be simple to carry out around 100 demonstrations using the available seed," the researchers found. 

A more hybrid seed must be created via public-private partnerships for more land to be farmed during the next growing season.

According to Mohapatra and RS Paroda, chairman of the TAAS, in trials conducted over three years at eight sites under the supervision of ICAR-DRMR, Bharatpur, GM mustard has a 37% average yield advantage over zonal checks and a 28% average yield advantage over the mega variety Varuna (the non-GM indigenous mustard variety).

C. Bansal, NAAS Secretary, addressed DMH-11 concerns and stated that, contrary to common assumption, the chemical is not herbicide-tolerant. Herbicide is only required for the production of hybrid seeds.

He believes more effort should be made to market DMH-11 since it yields 28% more than present types and helps minimize the country's reliance on foreign edible oil supply. Mr. Bansal went on to say that no human health risks or threats to honeybees have been identified as of now.

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Tags: #TAAS #Rabi #hybrid


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