CPM shifts stand on Genetically Modified crops

A CPI(M) leader said that it will be unscientific to oppose in to the introduction of such seeds into the country.

Thiruvananthapuram: In what is seen as a policy shift on Genetically Modified crops on the part of the CPI(M), a senior party leader has said that it will be unscientific to oppose in to the introduction of such seeds into the country.

Addressing the session on agriculture at the party-sponsored International Congress on Kerala Studies here on Saturday, CPI(M) polit bureau member S Ramachandran Pillai said it would not be wrong to utilise GM crops by ensuring that they would not harm the environment and living beings.

The defence of GM sees by CPI-M leader assumes significance since the LDF government in Kerala has so far stiffly opposed even testing of GM crops in the rice fields in the state.

It is also significant that Pillai, all-India president of the party`s farmers` wing Kisan Sabha, chose to air hims views on the issue at a three-day brain storming event organised by the party`s research forum AKG study Centre.
However, no sooner had pillai made his views than the rift in the LDF over the issue came to fore with state Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran striking a sharply different note.

According Ratnakaran, so far there had been on evidence to show that the farm sector would benefit from the GM crops and that the net result of such a scenario would be wiping out of the traditional seeds, forcing the farmers to rely healvily on international corporates.

Pillai`s stand was that in a globalised scenario it was vital to increase food production and turning totally against the fruits of science and technology would be unsientific.

"It is superstitious to completely oppose these kinds of seeds. Such seeds could be used after thoroughly ensuring through tests that they would not harm humanbeings, animals and plants", Pillai said.
He pointed out that many countries including China had been using such seeds for increasing their agricultural producting.

As a measure to counter the exploitation of farmers by multinational corporates, the CPI (M) leader suggested that the distribution of such seeds could be done through a public sector agency.

He suggested that the Centre and states should take joint initiatives in this direction.