GM crops not the solution: Experts
Press Trust India (PTI), 4 Jun 2008
NEW DELHI: Genetically modified crops do not help increase the production level and therefore are not an effective solution to check inflation that has been triggered by demand-supply mismatch, according to experts.
"There is no concrete evidence that GM crops increase production. They only control insects, which can well be done by some other organic methods," Kerala Biodiversity Board Chairman V S Vijayan said.
Speaking at a meeting on biotechnology and biosafety here today, Vijayan said apart from having health hazards, the GM seeds are also expensive.
"While BT cotton seeds cost about Rs 1,500 a kg, the normal cotton seeds are available at Rs 450 per kg," he said.
Demanding stricter laws on food and biosafety, experts asked the government to be vigilant on claims made by companies as it concerns the farming community.
"The biosafety laws have also been diluted. While genetic engineering is a process, which impacts the metabolism and physiology of the whole organism, the transgene has been defined as an event, separating it from its interactions with the organism in an amendment in June 2006," said Vandana Shiva of Navdanya, an NGO promoting organic cultivation.
She said, "In September 2007 the government had excluded genetically engineered food from the ambit of biosafety laws."
Shiva deplored a government's proposal to set up National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority saying the move is aimed at marginalising the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, which is the the nodal agency for regulating the safety of GM crops. GEAC also certifies GM seeds for commercialisation.
Experts demanded that all steps at deregulating food and biosafety norms be discouraged. They called for a ban on BT trials in the absence of professional and credible supervision.