The National Academy of Agriculture Sciences on Wednesday torpedoed the arguments of the anti-GM lobby on the indigenous genetically modified mustard and offered support for the commercial release of the GM oilseed, created by Delhi University scientists.
The counter from NAAS touches on issues related to the yield of GM and non-GM versions of rapeseed (a sister crop of mustard); the performance of the indigenous genetically engineered mustard (DMH-11) against the national checks in the trial phase and how new varieties are outperforming the DMH-11. The farm scientists claim, the activists are wrong on these points.
“The biggest misrepresentation being carried out is that the hybrid contains a herbicide resistance conferring trans-gene; therefore, farmers will use the herbicide and lakhs of landless workers will lose their livelihoods. Yes, DHM-11 contains a gene that confers resistance to herbicide glufosinate, but the hard fact is that herbicide use is required only for hybrid seed production and permission is being sought from the Ministry of Agriculture only for this limited use,” said the NAAS report.
Productivity of oilseed crops is stagnating in India for more than ten years in the absence of better yielding hybrids.
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