Farmers seek law on GM crops

NEW DELHI: With the Narendra Modi government stance still not clear over the contentious Bt brinjal issue, a farmers’ body, the Consortium of Indian Farmers Association (CIFA), has expressed concern over reports of large scale availability of “unauthorised genetically modified (GM) plants” in the country and its adverse effect on farmers’ future.

Farmers seek law on GM crops

editorial@tribune.com

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 15

With the Narendra Modi government stance still not clear over the contentious Bt brinjal issue, a farmers’ body, the Consortium of Indian Farmers Association (CIFA), has expressed concern over reports of large scale availability of “unauthorised genetically modified (GM) plants” in the country and its adverse effect on farmers’ future.

Asserting that it welcomed introduction of technology in agriculture, the CIFA demanded a national law and action, saying farmers were being sold seeds that could be unscientifically produced, increasing chances of financial losses and harassment.

There were reports recently that Bt brinjal, a GM food crop, was being grown and sold illegally in parts of the country, including in Haryana. While anti-GM activists demanded immediate action against what they termed “a definite biohazard”, the pro-GM lobby dismissed “biohazard” factor, but underlined the definite need for a scientific, legal and proper way to go about the issue.

The government has been dragging its feet for long over the issue on which both Left and Right anti-GM activists are united.

The CIFA said it “always welcomed the introduction of technology in agriculture to benefit the farmer and society at large”, but the “unauthorised sale of seeds needed to be sorted to protect farmers who were being sold seeds that might be unscientifically produced, leading to losses and harassment at the hands of the authorities for cultivating an unauthorised variety”.

The CIFA also quoted reports of field survey conducted by the Central Institute of Cotton Research in Wardha, Chandrapur, Nagpur and Yavatmal districts of Vidarbha that suggested that over 40 per cent cotton samples belonged to unapproved Roundup Ready variant of cotton, (RRF).

“We are concerned about the lax attitude of regulators and the lack of initiative on behalf of all stakeholders concerned to find the source of these seeds,” said CIFA secretary general Bojja Dasaratharami Reddy.

‘Lack of initiative’

We are concerned about the lax attitude of regulators and the lack of initiative on behalf of all stakeholders concerned to find the source of these (GM) seeds. Bojja Dasaratharami Reddy, CIFA Secretary General

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