Indian scientists have completed final trials of a genetically modified (GM) variety of mustard and will submit a report to the government in a month, hoping to win over stiff opposition to make it the country’s first commercial transgenic food crop.
A powerful farmers group close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is one of the biggest critics of GM crops and wants the government to stop all field trials saying they “will destroy the entire agrarian economy”.
The new GM mustard offers India a chance to substantially reduce this import bill as it would be the highest-yielding oilseed in India, with yields 26-34 percent higher than the national average, said Delhi University’s Deepak Pental, leading the research on the GM mustard.
Pental said recently concluded biosafety studies did not show any adverse allergenic, toxic or environmental impact.
In April Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) leaders met with some government scientists working on GM and urged them to stop all field trials, BKS national secretary Mohini Mohan Mishra told Reuters.
“The scientists may complete field trials and submit reports but this will not translate into GM crops in Indian fields.”
But in August last year, the Modi government resumed the field trials for selected GM crops with little publicity and in January, Maharashtra state led by the BJP gave the all-clear to trials of rice, chickpeas, corn and aubergine, as well as new varieties of cotton.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Scientists to submit GM mustard report to government