Govt moving cautiously on GM crops commercialisation: Pawar
The government today said it is not opposed to GM crops but is studying their impact on soil, environment and living being before allowing commercial production of biotech crops, other than cotton.
New Delhi: The government today said it is not opposed to GM crops but is studying their impact on soil, environment and living being before allowing commercial production of biotech crops, other than cotton.
"We are not opposed to GM crops, but we are very cautious about that," Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told reporters at the Economic Editors' Conference here.
Till today in India, there has been only one GM crop that has been allowed and that is cotton, he added.
"But, we have not released other varieties. We are taking lots of precaution, conducting number of trials and are assessing any impact on soil and on environment and human being and animals," he said.
"When we come to conclusion that it is safest, then only the government will think of allowing other GM crops," the minister added.
Talking about success story of GM cotton, Pawar said the decision of allowing GM cotton has been welcomed by farmers because the area under GM crop has reached to 92 per cent.
The government did not launch any campaign for GM plant technique but ultimately cotton growers have realised which is the better variety and which is not, the minister said.
"Our per hectare yield of cotton was somewhat 1.5 quintal and that has reached to 5 quintal. It has benefited the farmers community who have adopted GM variety of cotton," Pawar said.
The government had put a moratorium on Bt brinjal in February 2010 in view of protest from anti-GM groups on the health ground.
Recently, Bihar and Karnataka did not allow field trials of GM maize by private seed companies.
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