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Pro-GM crops group mobilising opinion in states

Last Updated: Sunday, January 23, 2011 - 12:32

New Delhi: With a moratorium on cultivation of GM crops, pro-biotech crops group are now mobilising opinion in states for allowing farmers to cultivate genetically modified produce.

The pro-GM crops group include prominent farm leader Sharad Joshi.

"We have met Agriculture minister and senior officials of Agriculture/Horticulture departments of Karnataka, West Bengal, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat to convince them about merits of cultivating biotech crops," executive director, ABLE (Association of Biotech Led Enterprise) Sivramiah Shantharam told a news agency.

The government had in February last year put a ban on farmers growing the genetically modified aubergine (Bt Brinjal) after a large section of the society, including environmentalists, expressed health safety fears on allowing such produce in the human food chain.

"We have not received hostile response from any states so far," said Shantharam, who claims to have served in the US department of Agriculture for around 15 years.

Sharad Joshi who spoke to a news agency on phone from Maharashtra said they were demonstrating merits of GM technology to farmers in different states to generate a positive response.

The ABLE official said "Over 25 countries including the USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and many European nations are successfully cultivating biotech crops."

He called upon scientists to "honestly" voice their opinion on the subject.

Recently, Joshi, director National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology (NRCPB) P Anand Kumar, Plant Molecular physiologist IS Dua and director National Seeds Association
of India (NSAI) NK Dadlani held a press meet in the national capital to counter "falsehood" spread by anti-GM crops group.

They cited demonstrable benefits of Bt cotton in support of their argument.

Joshi, who is founder of Shetkari Sanghatana, had attributed the government moratorium on the GM crops to Union Environment minister Jairam Ramesh`s "predisposition guided by politics".

The Indian government had in mid-February last year issued a moratorium on the development of GM aubergine (Bt Brinjal, as it is known locally).


First Published: Sunday, January 23, 2011 - 12:32

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