Exporters worried over GM rice rejection

New Delhi, Nov 27 | Updated: Nov 28 2006, 05:30am hrs
Indian rice exporters are concerned over the growing rejection of genetically modified (GM) across the world. Recently producers in major rice exporting countries - Thailand and Vietnam -signed agreement to keep GM rice out of cultivation. The All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) has woken up to the situation and have asked the government not to allow any field trials or commercial cultivation of GM rice in the country. They say that the retention of the countrys image as producer of non-GM foods would largely boost the prospects of rice exports.

Country earns millions of dollars in foreign exchange due to export of rice. Indias long grain aromatic rice - basmati has a premium market abroad, said RS Seshadri of Tilda Riceland - a major exporter of basmati rice.

The AIREA chief Anil Adlakha has already expressed his concern over the possible contamination of long grain non-GM rice if GM rice trials were allowed to be conducted in the country.

Seshadri said We must learn lessons from the recent contamination of food chain by GM rice under field trials in the US and China. The profitability of US rice industry has declined as many countries began rejecting the US shipments of contaminated rice.

He said recently on November 16 in the Rice Exporters Association of Thailand and the Vietnam Food Association signed an accord in Bangkok to keep off GM rice. This accord was signed in presence of senior officials and ministers of both the countries. He said that this is a wake up call for India too.