3 Mar 2009

India likely to launch bio-tech rice by 2011-12

Biotech rice is likely to be launched in India by 2011-12, after it gets all the required clearance, Sawapan Datta professor Calcutta University said today.

“After all the required processes and approvals, it is estimated that bio-tech enhanced rice could be launched in India by 2011-22,” Datta told reporters.

He said, with India’s population estimated to reach 1.3 billion by 2017, the government has estimated a 14 million tonnes shortage of the food grain.

Therefore, with low yield and rising demand it is essential to increase rice production, which is the second most consumed cereal grain, after maize, Datta said.

“Biotech enhanced rice could double farmer yields and can save traditional low yielding varieties from extinction by converting taller varieties into shorter heights with multiple tillers resulting in higher yields,” he said.

According to Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI), Cuttack, head plant improvement G J N Rao, “Bio-tech rice can enhance productivity and help protect the environment by reducing the use of chemical pesticides.”

CRRI is working on developing nutritionally enhanced rice for high protein and high-iron to help address the problem of malnutrition among women and children.


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