Fighting a spirited legal battle against US biotech major Monsanto on its "astronomical" trait value for Bt Cotton seeds, the Andhra Pradesh government has asked the Centre to consult the states before according any approval for transgenic variety in the country.
"The Centre must give priority to local needs and ground realities before approving any genetically modified varieties and the state should be consulted," Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy said.
Asked whether his government would allow Bt brinjals, developed on the lines of genetically modified Bt cotton, in the state, Reddy said it was upto the Genetically Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) to look into the issue.
"We have asked both GEAC and the Centre to consult all state agricultural universities before approving Bt brinjal," Reddy said adding these universities are aware of ground realities.
The GEAC is yet to decide on the fate of Bt brinjal, the introduction of which is opposed by various environmental and civil society groups.
"The ball is in the Centre's court and I would urge New Delhi to take any decision on that, keeping in mind local conditions," Reddy added.
The Minister made it categorical that he was not against the Bollgard technology, which is found to be effective against pest attacks, but disapproves high royalty or trait value charged by the parent company holding the technology rights.
He also clarified that the state government is waiting for reports from its affiliated agricultural universities on the long-term effectiveness of the Bollgard technology.