Rashtriya Progressive Kisan Association, a consortium of seven farmer organisations, has written to the Prime Minister demanding commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) mustard at the earliest. The consortium favoured quick rollout of GM Mustard for farmers in arid and semi-arid regions and asked stakeholders to stop politicising the commercialisation of GM Mustard, which is currently under review with the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC). "A consortium of 7 leading national farmer organisations under the aegis of the Rashtriya Progressive Kisan Association (RPKA) has submitted a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting the commercialisation of GM Mustard," a statement said. RPKA said it represents over 80 million farmers across 16 states.
It had earlier collected over 1.38 lakh signed farmer petitions from across key agricultural states and submitted this to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment in support of GM Mustard. The association's CEO Hari Singh Yadav said: "The on-going polarization around GM Mustard is unfortunate as it not only hurts the farm economy, impedes India's agriculture self-reliance but also takes away the Indian farmer's right to choose technologies best suited to him." Farm technologies should be allowed to be effected by regular market forces which will determine their success or failure. "Our entreaty to the government is to let the technology speak for itself and to go ahead with its commercialisation as soon as the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee gives it a go-ahead with regards to its bio-safety," he said. "Globally and in India, GM technology successfully co- exists with conventional hybrids as well as organic farming methods," RPKA said. The seven organisations under RPKA are -- Sir Choudhary Choturam Bhartiya Kisan Samiti (BKS), Consortium of Indian Farmers Association, Kisan Coordination Committee, Shetkari Sanghatana Trust, United Farmers Empowerment Initiative (UFEI) and Confederation of NGOs of Rural India (CNRI).
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