Keywords: agricultural biotechnology, intellectual property rights, agricultural policy, India, rice, sorghum, millet, groundnut, bio-fertilisers, pesticides, water, drought, ICRISAT
Managing agricultural biotechnology for sustainable development: the case of semi-arid India
Managing agricultural biotechnology for sustainable development demands more than research and intellectual property rights policies. Economic and regulatory institutions conducive to application of intrinsically sustainable technologies are also required. From an interdisciplinary development research perspective, it is argued that sustainability of Indian agriculture and food crop production may depend more on environmental governance than on biotechnology and globalisation in the form of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Without ecological institutions to govern agriculture, privatisation of genetic constructs may simply distort the trajectory of agricultural technology. Current agricultural policies discourage adoption of sustainable technologies. From a perspective of poverty alleviation as well as from a perspective of natural resource management, existing policies encourage waste of natural resources and maintain incentives to develop non-sustainable technologies. The Indian research complex is discouraged from realising its potential for producing bio-innovations suitable for sustainable agricultural development.