rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Business » 'GM potato can fight blight disease'

'GM potato can fight blight disease'

May 14, 2007 15:40 IST

Even as fears of major crop loss due to blight disease in potatoes, scientists at the Shimla-based Central Potato Research Institute said that use of genetically modified potatoes can reduce damages.

This comes in the wake of a recent Supreme Court judgment, allowing field trials of GM potatoes, rice, mustard, tomatoes, cauliflower and groundnuts.

The scientists said GM potato seeds would enhance the crop's overall resistance against blight, a commonly found disease in potato.

The institute had estimated 10-15 per cent crop damage due to blight for the last crop season.

A three-member Bench of the Supreme Court, headed by chief justice K G Balakrishnan, had also lifted a ban on conducting fresh field trails of new gene-modified cotton varieties.

Till the latest court order, India allowed commercial cultivation of GM cottonseeds and not food crops.

Major potato producing state West Bengal is in the grip of blight disease and farmers are set to suffer huge losses this time due to the late attack of the fungi.

According to officials, the production in the state is set to fall by around 30 per centĀ this year despite an increase in acreage under cultivation.

The state, with the highest productivity of potato and second highest area under cultivation, has brought four lakh acres under cultivation this year. But the disease has affected almost 85 per centĀ of the area under cultivation.

Commodity Online