India’s biotechnology regulators, the Genetically Engineering Appraisal Committee, approved the use of BT eggplants today. The committee will make their recommendation to the Indian government, and with the approval of Parliament, BT eggplants will provide the first biotech vegetables to be produced on local farms. These eggplants are engineered to provide resistance to a devastating natural pest known as the shoot borer, potentially increasing yields by 40%.
“This is fantastic news,” said said Rajeesh Kumar, a vegetable farmer from Swarnapuri, India and a participant in the Global Farmer-to-Farmer Roundtable at the World Food Prize Symposium. “Crop failure has been a problem for many farmers, who often borrow huge sums of money in order to plant. Biotech crops like these eggplant decrease crop failures and we need more technology to come soon.”
To read more about the Appraisal Committee’s decision, click here.
To learn more about the importance of eggplant production to India and Southeast Asia (28% of total vegetable volume), you can read The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) report on BT eggplant here.