Indian agriculture expert: Don’t let GM mustard go the way of GMO eggplant

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[Editor’s note: K.K. Narayanan is an agriculture expert and founder of Metahelix Life Sciences.]

Seven-and-a-half years ago, BT Brinjal [eggplant], developed by two public agricultural universities, was approved for commercial cultivation by the genetic engineering approval committee (GEAC), a statutory body. BT Brinjal [eggplant] is inherently resistant to the notorious fruit and shoot borer (FSB) pest and therefore produces a marketable crop without the large number of chemical sprays that the farmer would have otherwise had to use. However, as fate would have it, this technology was held back from the Indian farmer through a “spoken order” by the then environment minister, Jairam Ramesh who, in the year 2010, succumbing to pressure from activists, overruled the science-based recommendation of GEAC, and imposed a moratorium on its commercialization.

[T]he GEAC gave the go-ahead to another genetically modified (GM) technology developed by Prof. Deepak Pental and his team at Delhi University, the GM Mustard. Now the environment minister, Harsh Vardhan, has to take a call on allowing the GM Mustard to benefit the Indian farmer. Given the results of extensive bio-safety studies over the last decade and the edible oil shortage the country is facing, this should be an easy call and would perfectly be in sync with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s pronouncements on giving a boost to farming.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: GM Mustard should not go the BT Brinjal way