Honey cultivators on Monday opposed genetically modified (GM) mustard variety and asked the government not to approve it for commercial cultivation while claiming that it may affect adversely honey production and livelihood of lakhs of farmers.
They also appealed to state governments to intervene immediately and stop approval for its cultivation, while also announced that beekeepers and farmers would stage a protest on September 28 at Jantar Mantar against GM mustard.
"We would like our experts and ICAR to examine the data carefully to see if the tests done are adequate or not and if the results have been interpreted correctly.
"But for that to happen, the government has to share the entire bio-safety dossier in the public domain," said Yogeshwar Singh, a member of Confederation of Beekeeping Industry, in a statement. He also suggested that the stakeholders should be given at least 120 days time to study the available information. The industry body also demanded the government to first investigate the impact of Bt cotton on honey production.
However, non-profit body South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) said the Beekeeping Industry's concerns are "politically motivated, non-scientific reaction to deliberately create fears amongst the general public and mislead the beekeepers in particular."
"GM mustard is likely to have beneficial effects on honey bees population based on their relatively enhanced foraging behaviour resulting in increasing honey production and income of beekeepers in mustard growing areas," the SABC said in a separate statement.