GM mustard will be grown in 100 locations in the current rabi season
The recently approved genetically modified (GM) mustard will be grown in at least 100 locations. DMH-11, a hybrid, will be sown in the coming days as part of a field-level demonstration permitted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Its Bharatpur-based National Research Centre on Rapeseed-Mustard (NRCM) has already collected 2 kilogramme of seeds for this purpose.
‘A total of 10 kg of DMH 11 is available, and it will be sown in 50–100 locations across four major mustard-growing states (Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana),’ said Trilochan Mohapatra, President of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NASS) and former director-general of ICAR.
Because there are fewer seeds available, some can be used for demonstration purposes and some for field experiments in additional regions. He said that seed multiplication will be done after determining the yield potential of the DMH-11, he said, adding that there is no need to obtain state authorization for field demonstration.
The PPP model
‘With available seeds, ICAR can easily undertake 50-100 field demonstrations under a controlled environment this rabi season, to check the performance,’ said RS Paroda, Chairperson of the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS) and a former Director-General of ICAR.
More hybrid seeds must be produced through corporate and public collaborations in order to cover a wider region in the next cropping season, according to Paroda. Speaking to the media in Delhi, both Mohapatra and Paroda stated that the entire procedure will take at least two years and that the hybrid will be available for commercial release within three years.
‘A start has been made, and more and more crops will be developed using genetic engineering technology,’ NAAS secretary KC Bansal said.
On October 25, the Ministry of Environment’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) approved the ‘environmental release’ of transgenic mustard hybrid DMH-11 and the parental lines containing barnase, barstar, and bar genes so that they could be used to develop new hybrids, and authorized ICAR to supervise the research.
Deregulation of technology
According to scientists, the environmental release of DMH-11 is a watershed move that breaks a long stalemate on the release of GM food crops. The UPA government refused GEAC certification for Bt brinjal, whereas the present government reversed the GEAC decision to authorize GM mustard in 2017.
DMH-11 was previously studied for agronomic and yield performance by NRCM, but only in a few places. Because the technique had not been approved by GEAC at the time, it could not be tested in more areas.
According to Mohapatra, with the release of DMH-11 into the environment, the technology has been deregulated and may now be tested in more locations and displayed in the fields, as well as used to produce newer hybrid kinds. ‘All three activities will be carried out concurrently,’ he stated.