HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

GM crops: Farmers' bodies oppose ban on field trials

PTI  New Delhi, August 22, 2013
First Published: 19:55 IST(22/8/2013) | Last Updated: 19:56 IST(22/8/2013)

Various farmers' organisations, including the Consortium of Indian Farming Associations (CIFA), on Thursday opposed the recommendations of a Supreme Court-appointed committee to ban field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops, saying that the farming community needed biotechnology for progress.


The five-member technical expert committee (TEC), which was appointed by the apex court, recently recommended a moratorium on field trials for GM crops.

"GM crops offer several solutions to farmers' problems. We need biotechnology and the right to choose and freedom to farm," CIFA secretary general Chengal Reddy said in a statement.

Reddy was addressing a farmers' rally at Jantar Mantar, organised in protest against the TEC recommendations.

The protest, led by the CIFA, witnessed the participation of Shetkari Sanghatana, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Kisan Club, Naujawan Kisan Club, Nagarjuna Rythu Samakhya, Pratapa Rudra Farmers Mutually Aided Coop Credit & Marketing Federation, among other leading farmer organisations.

"It would be unfair to deny India's farmers the benefits of biotechnology, and it would be unfair to the nation to prevent its farmlands from prospering more," PAU Kisan Club secretary PS Pangli said.

Representatives of farmers' organisations added that farmers should have the right to choose seeds, adding that the use of biotech crops was a solution to meet the growing food demand with limited natural resources in the coming years.
Meanwhile, eminent scientists have also appealed to the Supreme Court not to accept the TEC recommendations.

"The TEC has chosen to mischievously mislead the court on GM crops. The committee has deliberately overlooked opinions of leading scientific organisations in India and the world, and hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific publications," said Shanthu Shantharam of the Biosafety Institute of Iowa State University.


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