DowDuPont Inc had to defer field trials of the genetically modified (GM) variety of corn in August this year in India as the required minimum number of states did not give the necessary permissions.
Subbarao KV, MD (South Asia), Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont, also said that once the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) allows commercial cultivation of GM food crop, the company would hold final field trials.
Corteva Agriscience sells both hybrid seeds and crop protection solutions in India. It has manufacturing units one each in Telangana, Maharasthra and Gujarat.
Subbarao said that the trials were not withdrawn due to concerns related to the patent regime. He said that the intellectual property was important in the seed sector.
GM corn aims to control major pests, which include stem borer, cob borer, root worm and the fall armyworm.
Currently Bit cotton is commercially cultivated while there is a moratorium on Bt brinjal. More tests are being conducted for GM mustard.
“We have been doing the trials for a number of years and we have advanced significantly. We withdrew trials on GM corn, which is in the last stage. As and when the regulatory system is ready to approve and adopt products, we will resume the trials,” said Subbarao.
The company would need four years of on-farm trials.
“We have done three years and we just need to do one last trial. The last trial needs to be tested in wide geographies since India has diverse agro-climatic conditions. The approvals we had were only from select one or two states,” he said.
Subarao said that “the reason for us to withdraw the trials is purely based on regulatory approvals. We respect intellectual property rights and we will await further decision on the intellectual property regime.”