Farmer community in Gujarat has raised objection to the union agriculture minister, Sharad Pawar's appeal to the state governments to permit field trials of genetically modified (GM) food crops. Farmer body, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) has alleged that Pawar has colluded with the multi-national seed companies to act against the interests of the country's farmers.
"It is unfortunate that our union agriculture minister, who has the responsibility to ensure welfare of the farmers and achieve food security for the country, is pressing for field trials of GM crops despite the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture had recommended to stop all field trails," said Ambubhai Patel, national secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS).
"The minister is hand in glow with the multinational biotech seed companies in trying to push their risky GM crops into our country," alleged Patel.
It may be noted that in its interim report, the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee (TEC) has unanimously recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of GM food crops, herbicide tolerant crops and ban on field trials of GM crops for which India is centre of origin.
"It has been scientifically proved that GM food crops are harmful. The seven-member TEC, which included even the seed company officials and technical experts has unanimously decided to put a 10-year moratorium. It is high time that our government realise that GM food crops are a false solution to the food security issues," said Devinder Sharma, columnist and agriculture analyst, who is also a part of the Team Anna.
As per the newly framed regulations for field trials of GM crops, any GM crop for field trial can be planted only after receiving a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the state government.
But already Bihar, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh have banned field trials. In 2010 during the bt-brinjal debate, states including Delhi, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal among others had objected the commercial cultivation of Bt brinjal.