How GM crops can help address India’s food security problems

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The new environment minister Prakash Javadekar is yet to take a call on allowing further trials of genetically-modified (GM) crops. Ram Kaundinya, Chairman, Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises (Agriculture Group), spoke to Financial Express on the need for using biotechnology for meeting the rising demand for food in the country.

The new agriculture minister, Radha Mohan Singh, has stated that GM technology should be adopted in case of urgent needs. What would be your approach?

We have always maintained that this technology is no silver bullet that solves all the problems. The objective of food and nutritional security of the nation will need a basket of solutions of which GM technology is a part. We should deploy the technology where it can deliver the best value to the farmer and the consumer. The government and the industry together should identify high-priority crops and traits for which GM technology would be beneficial for India. This will help the industry to focus its efforts with the government providing the necessary policy support. As India asserts its position globally, it must use the best technologies for the benefit of its farmers and develop technologies for long-term agricultural sustainability.

What should be done to promote GM research in the country?

We have only made a modest beginning, with Bt cotton (the only GM crop allowed for commercial cultivation), but much more is possible if this technology finds application in food crops as well. The other traits being developed, such as drought- and salinity-tolerance, improved nitrogen- and water-use efficiency, and enhanced nutritional quality can benefit India. These technologies can help farming in drought-prone areas and on saline soil while paring down the government’s subsidy bill.

GM trait development is at various stages for more than nine crops and with over 50 events in India. It is interesting to note that over 50% of these research projects are on at public sector institutions, with huge financial investment. All these developments, at both public and private sectors research facilities, have been put on hold since 2010, causing enormous delays in making these technologies available to the farmers. Agro-biotech could be used as one of the solutions to address the economic and social needs of a growing population.

Read the full, original article: GM crops can help India meet its food security needs

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend