E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


India: Future of GM crops uncertain despite govt project on transgenic foods

(Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Ashok B. Sharma, Financial Express, 12/28/03: New Delhi: Though the government has proposed a Rs 40-crore network project on transgenics covering 12 crops including maize, pigeonpea, chickpea, soyabean, cotton, brassica, tomato, brinjal, banana, papaya, potato and cassava, the future of genetically-modified (GM) crop in the country seems uncertain.

In the recent winter session of the Parliament replying to the queries by Opposition members, the Union minister of state for agriculture, Hukamdeo Narayan Yadav, admitted that the government has received complaints on the failure of Bt cotton, the country’s first GM crop developed by Monsanto-Mahyco. He said the government was ready to hold investigation in this regard.

Mr Yadav, however, said that the government, examining the performance of the first transgenic crop allowed to be cultivated in five Indian states last season, however found favourable results of crop also. Later the Union minister for science and technology, Murli Manohar Joshi under whose ministry is the promoter agency, department of biotechnology, openly defended by saying that Bt cotton has performed well.

Charging Monsanto, an American seed multinational, with experimenting on Indian farmers, opposition members sought compensation to the growers who had suffered loss with the sowing of Bt cotton. Evading a direct reply on the demand of compensation to the farmers, Mr Yadav said, “the government was ready for holding investigation in this regard’’.

Mr Madhusudan Mistri (Cong) and Dr D’Souza (JD-S) wanted to know what was the government’s policy on sowing of GM crops in the country and accused that some officials responsible for allowing commercial cultivation of Bt cotton were “in league with Monsanto and its Indian subsidiary, Mahyco”.

Dr Souza wanted to know whether the Monsanto would allow the multiplication of Bt cotton seeds by Indian farmers and they had to pay royalty to the American company as a Canadian farmer was made to do so recently. The members also disagreed with the minister’s claim that the government had set up quarantine facilities at airports and sea ports to check the entry of unwanted and GM seeds in the country.

Mr Yadav, however, admitted that the quarantine facilities were not up to the mark to examine the hybrid and other advanced varieties of seeds entering the Indian soil.

Source: http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=49366