Edible oil industry body SEA today hailed the expert panel GEAC for clearing a genetically modified (GM) mustard seed variety for commercial cultivation and hoped the Supreme Court will lift the stay on its release. Yesterday, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) recommended the commercial release of a high-yielding GM mustard variety, DMH-11, developed by Delhi University scientists.
A final approval is awaited from the Environment Ministry for its release. Welcoming GEAC’s move, Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) Executive Director B V Mehta said: “In light of GEAC clearance for cultivation, India is one step away from commercial production of its first GM food crop and hopefully with all scientific evidence before it, the Supreme Court will lift the stay and pave way for commercial cultivation.”
The GEAC has taken a “bold decision” which will go a long way to increase the production and productivity of mustard seed in India, he said in a statement. At present, mustard seed output is around 7 million tonnes. However, the SEA has taken a resolution to work actively to raise the output to 15 million tonnes by 2025.