Millennium Post

Supreme Court panel for moratorium on field trials for GM crops in country

A Supreme Court appointed committee is learnt to have recommended moratorium on field trials for Bt in food crops in the country, contending that there was no definitive information about their long term safety.

The technical expert committee (TEC) consisting of experts in the fields of molecular biology, toxicology, nutrition science, biodiversity and agriculture science highlights the inherent problems with GM crops and recommends a cautious approach towards them being approved in the country.

‘... The TEC therefore reiterates its recommendation made in the Interim Report that there should be a moratorium on field trials for Bt in food crops (those that are directly used for food) intended for commercialisation (not research) until there is more definitive information from sufficient number of studies as to the long term safety of Bt in food crops,’the final report is believed to have said.Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had recently pitched for GM food arguing that it was necessary for growing requirements of the country.

He made the point at a Cabinet meeting while speaking on the Food Security Bill that will provide cheap food for 67 per cent of the country’s population.

On Herbicide Tolerant (HT) crops, the expert committee is learnt to have opined that 'HT crops would most likely exert a highly adverse impact over time on sustainable agriculture, rural livelihoods, and environment. The TEC finds them completely unsuitable in the Indian context.’

On the genetic modification of crops for which India is a centre of origin like rice, brinjal and mustard, the TEC recommended ‘that release of GM crops for which India is a centre of origin or diversity should not be allowed’.
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