In what is seen as a policy shift on Genetically Modified crops on the part of the CPI(M), a senior party leader has said it will be unscientific to oppose full introduction of such seeds in the country.
CPI-M politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai said such seeds could be used after ensuring that they clear all the tests and prove that they will not harm the environment and living beings.
He was addressing a session on agriculture at the party-sponsored International Congress on Kerala Studies on Saturday.
His remarks assume significance since the LDF government in Kerala has stiffly opposed even testing of GM crops in rice fields.
It is also significant that Pillai, the national president of party's farmers' wing Kisan Sabha, chose to air his views on the issue at a three-day brainstorming event organised by the party's research forum AKG study Centre.
However, no sooner had he made his views than the rift in the LDF over the issue came to the fore with state Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran striking a sharply different note.
According to Ratnakaran, there has been no evidence to show that GM crops will bnefit the farm sector and their use will wipe out traditional seeds, forcing farmers to rely heavily on international corporates.
Pillai's stand was that in a globalised scenario it was vital to increase food production.
"It is superstitious to completely oppose these kinds of seeds. Such seeds could be used after thoroughly ensuring through tests that they would not harm human beings, animals and plants," he said.
He said many countries including China had been using such seeds for increasing their agricultural production.
As a measure to counter exploitation of farmers by multi-national corporates, he suggested that distribution of such seeds could be done through a public sector agency. Pillai said the Centre and states take joint initiatives in this direction.