Amid reports that the government may consider a ban on GM crop trials, the Association of Biotech-led enterprises, Agriculture Group (ABLE-AG), today said it is "extremely disappointed" by the "anti-science, anti-domestic research recommendations". "The reports said the government is considering decision to half field trials of GM crops.
If this is indeed true, we are extremely disappointed by the anti-science, anti-domestic research recommendations which seems motivated to kill the biotechnology sector in India," ABLE-AG, an association of leading biotech companies in India, said in a statement here. Representatives of Swadeshi Jagran Manch and Bhartiya Kissan Sangh met Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar yesterday, seeking a ban on field trials of genetically-modified crops, cleared by biotech regulator Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC). However, the government had said that no decision will be taken in a haste. "Seed technologies can control pests and reduce insecticide usage, help farmers manage weeds and also manage their crops from drought, flood, heat, cold, disease or viruses," the statement said. India's agricultural productivity still ranks far below the best in the world, and if field trials are halted, it will have a far-reaching adverse impact denying new technologies to Indian farmers and the domestic seed industry. Moreover, India's scientific capabilities will be crippled and domestic investments and innovation by the public and the private sector in agri-biotechnology will cease, it said. India's robust science-based regulatory environment is comparable with global standards, and must be more predictable to encourage domestic agricultural research. "While taking into account the science and scientific facts, we expect the government to make an informed decision by considering the views of the local industry as well. "We hope the government will not get swayed by the malicious propaganda against GM technology unleashed by certain groups with vested interests," ABLE AG Chairman Ram Kaundinya said. ABLE-AG members comprise Indian companies - Advanta, JK, Mahyco, Metahelix, Nath, and also multinational companies -- Bayer, BASF, Devgen, Dow, DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto, Syngenta, Rasi Seeds and Bioseeds.