Double your efforts to remove all misgivings regarding genetically modified (GM) crops from the minds of policy-makers and the public, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told scientists in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Inaugurating the two-day conference of vice-chancellors of agricultural universities and meeting of directors of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) here, Pawar said: "The recent decision on Bt Brinjal should not be seen as a setback to our efforts, but a challenge which we need to surmount."
In a strongest possible defence of genetically modified crops, Pawar took a position diametrically opposite to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who put a moratorium on commercial release of Bt Brinjal pending more tests.
"Conventional technologies of agriculture are inadequate to meet the formidable challenges. The most compelling case for bio-technology, and more specifically transgenic crops, is their capability to increase crop productivity, lower production costs, conserve bio-diversity, efficient use of external inputs, and improvement of economic and social benefits and alleviation of abject poverty in poor and developing countries," the minister said.