How India squared up to Monsanto’s ‘biopiracy’

What do Agent Orange, DDT, aspartame, bovine growth hormone, GMOs and now biopiracy all share in common?

Other than being the stuff of environmentalists’ nightmares, each one owes its provenance to a single source: the biotechnology giant Monsanto.

The Indian government recently took an unprecedented step in filing suit against the corporation’s joint venture in India (known as Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech Limited) for the ‘unlawful’ attempt to obtain and modify the indigenous crop brinjal. Known elsewhere as aubergine or eggplant, brinjal is cultivated and consumed by many Indians, with roughly 2,500 unique varieties.

This commercialisation of indigenous knowledge is an offence known as biopiracy. In 2002, the Indian government enacted the Biological Diversity Act (BDA) to prevent the plunder of the nation’s rich agricultural biodiversity, which is among the highest in the world. 

Read the Ecologist UK’s article here.

 

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