New Delhi: April 8: Greenpeace volunteers dressed as vegetables went to the Agriculture Ministry today and submitted the results of an online poll which is reflective of India’s rejection of GM crops and demanded that Sharad Pawar stop promoting GM crops under the false argument that it is needed for food security. Greenpeace India conducted a nation- wide online poll and 97% of the people polled felt that GM crops was not the answer for food security.
The growing demand for ‘No to GM crops’ is getting louder by the day as more and more scientific evidences point towards the adverse impacts of GM crops on human health, environment, farming and socio-economic framework of the country. Last month, the Coalition for GM Free India, released a compilation of mounting scientific evidence on the adverse impacts of GM crops/ foods, this comprised of more than 300 independent reviewed papers.
Reports by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and the Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert Committee have questioned the regulatory mechanism in India and have suggested that it is inefficient and insufficient.
“Given the controversial nature of the technology and the lack of regulatory structure in the country to assess this technology, India should be taking a precautionary approach to GM crops. Instead Minister of Agriculture is promoting GM crops under the fallacious argument that it is needed to feed the starving billions in this country,” said Neha Saigal, Campaigner, Sustainable Agriculture, Greenpeace India. Greenpeace’s report “GM crops: No panacea for food security” has exposed the false argument.
The mindless promotion of GM crops by the Agriculture Minister had recently received sharp criticism from the Environment Ministry as well. According to media reports, Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of Environment and Forest objected to ‘Sharad Pawar being made the chair of an Empowered group of ministers on the matter of GM crops owing to his conflict of interest.’
While there is no dearth of scientific evidence and added to this the voices from all quarters of society opposing GM crops in food and farming, Sharad Pawar needs to have the wisdom to understand this and the will to listen to the voices of people and not biotech companies and stop misleading the debate on GM crops and food security in the country.
Notes to the Editor:
Link to Greenpeace report: http://www.greenpeace.org/india/Global/india/report/GM_Food_Security_Brief.pdf
Link to Coalition Compilation of Scientific papers: http://indiagminfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Scientific_Papers_Compiled_March_2013_coalition-for-a-gm-free-india.pdf