Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar bats for GM crops to meet food security

New Delhi, Feb 17 (Calcutta Tube) Strongly arguing for the genetically modified crops, which he said could solve the country’s food security problem, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Wednesday asked scientists to double efforts to remove all misgivings about GM crops from the minds of policy-makers and the public.

‘We have to improve our productivity in a situation when the population doubles and there is no possibility of additional land and water,’ Pawar said.


He, however, said the final decision on this issue could only be taken by the environment ministry.


Inaugurating the two-day conference of vice-chancellors of agricultural universities and meeting of directors of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) here, Pawar said: ‘The recent decision on Bt Brinjal should not be seen as a setback to our efforts, but a challenge which we need to surmount.’


In a strongest possible defence of genetically modified crops, Pawar took a position diametrically opposite to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who put a moratorium on commercial release of Bt Brinjal pending more tests.


‘Conventional technologies of agriculture are inadequate to meet the formidable challenges. The most compelling case for bio-technology, and more specifically transgenic crops, is their capability to increase crop productivity, lower production costs, conserve bio-diversity, efficient use of external inputs, and improvement of economic and social benefits and alleviation of abject poverty in poor and developing countries,’ the minister said.


Later, talking to reporters the minister said genetically modified crops could solve the country’s food security problem. However, he said, ‘We will respect the decision taken by the environment ministry, which can give us the ultimate guidance.’


He said he wanted to ‘resolve the issue of food security of the country.’

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