Has India had enough of GMOs?

From Sayer Ji, on the Activist Post:

“A report from the August 17 edition of the American Association for the Advance of Science’s journal Science titled, “Negative Report on GM Crops Shakes Government’s Food Agenda,” revealed that an Indian high-profile parliamentary panel, only a week before, recommended that GM crop “field trails under any garb should be discontinued forthwith,” and that further GM agricultural research should “only be done under strict containment.”[i]

Moreover, in a press conference after the report’s release, the panel’s chair, Basudeb Acharia, said in no uncertain terms: “India should not go in for GM food crops.”

According to the Science article’s author, Pallava Bagla, the panel’s recommendation is being regarded by some “as the death knell of the development of genetically modified food crops in India.” 

Dissenting interests, such as India’s chief of crop research, Swapan Dutta, a rice geneticist and deputy director at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, responded to the report by suggesting that if implemented, the panel’s recommendations would paralyze research and threaten India’s food security, and “hope for GM research in India is lost.”

The Indian government has been sending mixed signals about its commitment to agricultural GM technology. For instance, in 2002 the government approved Bt-toxin carrying cotton as the first GM commercial crop in India. Today, there are over 1100 Bt varieties of GM cotton, accounting for 93% of all the cotton sown in India. The prime minister of India himself, Manmohan Singh, voiced his support for GM crops in a recent interview with Science (24 Feb, p. 907), stating: “In due course of time,” he said “we must make use of genetic engineering technologies to increase the productivity of our agriculture.”…”

More on the Activist Post.

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