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Create awareness about genetically modified vegetables, says Swaminathan

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

Noted agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan today called for creating awareness about genetically modified vegetables. "People should be given education on genetically modified vegetables like Bt Brinjal," Swaminathan told reporters here.

The government had last week imposed moratorium on commercial cultivation of Bt Brinjal, which Swaminathan described as a "wise decision".

Noting that there has been a lot of debate on genetically modified vegetables, he said, "People should understand the difference between genetically modified vegetables and others. We must promote genetic literacy needed for the promotion of genetic food."

On climate change, Swaminathan said agriculture witnessed negative growth compared to population growth for the first time last year. "This may be due to floods and drought," he said, adding 2009 witnessed an increase of one degree in average temperature.

Swaminathan was here to officially announce the International conference on 'Biodiversity in Relation to Food and Human security in a warming planet" which commences on February 15.

The conference aims to promote exchange of ideas with regard to the implementation of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Treaty, he said.

The treaty makes special provision both for recognition of farmer's rights and for adopting a multi-lateral system of access and benefit sharing.

The conference would also develop a road map for ensuring that biodiversity continues to remain an important tool in achieving the goal of a hunger free world, Swaminathan said.

Environmental and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh would participate in the closing session on February 17, he said.

First Published: Sat, February 13 2010. 16:52 IST