Bangalore, Feb 4 (IANS) Biotechnology has made India a net exporter of BT Cotton from being an importer, with production nearly doubling to 510 kg per hectare from 225 kg over a decade ago, an industry player said Monday.
"Biotechnology has raised standards in bio-agriculture with remarkable success in BT (bacillus thuringiensis) Cotton, increasing its production to 90 percent across the states," Karnataka's Biotechnology Vision Group chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said at an industry conference-cum-expo here.
Allaying fears of genetic modifications in food crops, Shaw said the industry had so far invested $7.5 billion in developing new methods in bio-agriculture to produce varieties and increase yields and in bio-pharma for improving healthcare with new drugs.
"The pharma sector has benefited immensely from biotechnology with new discoveries and formulations. As one of the largest producers of vaccines, we should be able to produce affordable drugs through bio-similars," Shaw told delegates at 'Bangalore India Bio 2013', the 13th edition of the biotechnology industry event.
Shaw, who is also chairperson of the country's biotech major Biocon Ltd., said innovative solutions were under development to help physically challenged and visually impaired people in overcoming their limitations.
Earlier, flagging the three-day summit, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said around 26 percent of revenue from the biotech industry in the country was generated by firms based in Karnataka.
"The state is home to 52 percent of core biotech firms in the country with five of the top 10 firms located in Bangalore. The biotech park 'Helix' is taking shape and will be operational by 2015," Shettar said.
The state government is also setting up an incubation centre and common instrumentation facility in the upcoming biotech park with financial aid from the central government for the industry and academia.
"There are immense opportunities for the biotech sector to grow exponentially. The sector has grown six times since 2003 to $5 billion this fiscal with a compounded growth rate of 20-22 percent annually," Shettar observed.