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Biotech crops solution to food shortage: expert

In a world of unpredictable climatic changes, growing water stress and lifestyle diseases, the issue of food availability and quality has assumed much greater urgency than ever before, reports Lalita Panicker.

india Updated: Dec 31, 2008 23:26 IST
Lalita Panicker

In a world of unpredictable climatic changes, growing water stress and lifestyle diseases, the issue of food availability and quality has assumed much greater urgency than ever before.

Just increasing yields is not enough, reducing inputs like water and pesticides are equally important. Dr Harvey L Glick, senior director, scientific affairs, Asia for Monsanto predicts that we need to double food production in 25 years and the crisis will be more serious in developing countries like India unless we turn to solutions like biotech crops.

In India recently, Dr Glick says that the very NGOs who opposed the introduction of Bt crops are now asking why this technology is not being adopted more widely.

Though the minister for health Anbumani Ramadoss has expressed some reservations over the introduction of Bt Brinjal which he felt must be tested under Indian conditions, Dr Glick says that no Bt seed goes into production without rigorous testing.

According to him India's regulatory mechanism is stringent. The driving force behind Bt crops seems to be farmers' demand. They are getting more bang for the buck with Bt crops. The spin-offs from increased yield with reduced inputs reflect in the quality of life for farmers in the form of children's education, nutrition and health.