Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research (IIOR) in Rajendranagar, Hyderabad is one of the national level research institutes under the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR). Its prime objective is to carry out strategic research in order to augment the productivity, oil content and quality of oilseeds such as castor (Ricinus communis), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), sesame (Sesamum indicum), niger (Guizotia abyssinica) and linseed (Linum usitatissimum). The research and development also focus on minimizing crop losses due to pests and diseases, and developing bio-pesticides for protection of such crops has been one of its notable achievements.
Bio-pesticides are derived from natural materials such as animals, plants, microbes, and certain minerals. The practical use of microbial agents such as fungi, bacteria, protozoans, etc., which kill insects is being explored by many research institutes and horticulturists throughout the world. There have been several instances of misappropriation of biological resources and/ or traditional knowledge for research and development purposes from local communities that are dependent on the resources, without adequate benefit sharing, such as cases towards the use of neem (Azadirachta indica), Laelia elegans, etc. The way in which genetic resources are accessed, and the benefits of their use are shared, can create incentives for their conservation and sustainable use, and contribute to a fairer and more equitable economy. India, a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity and party to the Nagoya Protocol, has enacted the Biological Diversity Act in 2002 (BDA, 2002). It has constituted the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) and Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) for its effective implementation at the national, state and local levels. One of the major components of the act is to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources and related knowledge.
IIOR is one of the first research institutes to follow the mandates of BDA, 2002, in accessing local biological resources by obtaining necessary permissions, for their research, patents and commercial use. IIOR accessed microbial bio-resources required to develop bio-pesticides for plant disease management: Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), var. kurstaki was collected and isolated from a castor field in Kothakota, Telangana; Trichoderma Viride B-16 was collected from Kothagudem BMC, Telangana; and Trichoderma harzianum Th4d was collected from Gurazala BMC, Andhra Pradesh. Research was carried out to standardize the mass production of the Bt isolate through solid state fermentation. After the successful formulation of bio-pesticide from the, the results were transferred to private companies for commercial purposes following the approval for access to the genetic resources and technology from the respective State Biodiversity Boards of Andhra Pradesh and. The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) agreements with the companies includes the benefit sharing component out of the commercial production, formulated as per the ABS guidelines and based on the annual ex-factory gross sales deducting Government taxes. The SBBs intend to transfer 95% of the funds to the concerned BMC accounts as the Local Biodiversity Fund.
Since the project commenced before the ABS guidelines came into effect, IIOR paid an amount of Rs.25,000 and Rs.10,000 to the Kothakota BMC and Kothagudem BMC through the respective SBBs, for licensing the bio-pesticide formulations to various entrepreneurs. Further, IIOR is sharing 3% of the license fee charged from entrepreneurs with State Biodiversity Boards. As per the assessment carried out by IIOR, the use of Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki on castor crop by farmers in Mahabubnagar and Nalgonda districts has led to an income increase by Rs. 2,570 to Rs. 3,791 per hectare. The Institute maintains a live contact with farmers for imparting knowledge in improved agriculture practices.
ICAR- Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research, received special mention in the India Biodiversity Awards (IBA) under the category ‘Access and Benefit Sharing’ in 2016.