Anti-GMO Activists Slam Public Placement of Bio-Safety Docket on GM Mustard as ‘Meaningless’ Process: PTI

Anti-GM activists today accused GEAC, the country’s biotech regulator, of undertaking a ‘meaningless’ process, after a risk assessment report of genetically-modified mustard was put into public domain which claimed that it did not pose any risk to biodiversity or the agro-ecosystem.

The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) had constituted a sub-committee of scientific experts to examine the biosafety data on GM mustard. After the committee examined it, the report was placed on the Environment Ministry’s website on Sept 5 inviting comments from stakeholders within a period of 30 days before the biotech regulator took a decision.

‘The sub-committee is of the opinion that both the genetically-engineered parents, Varuna bn3.6 and EH2 modbs 2.99 and the hybrid DMH-11 are substantially equivalent to non-GE parents and conventional mustard and its consumption is safe for human and animal health.

‘With regard to the environment, the sub-committee concluded that the environmental release of parental lines for hybrid DMH11 may not pose any risk to biodiversity and the agro-ecosystem as the GE material under review have been demonstrated to have no or negligible effect on non-target organisms,’ the report stated.

The Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) of Delhi University had applied for GEACs approval for environmental release of hybrid DMH-11.

‘From the toxicity and allergenicity studies, it was concluded that GE mustard, the parental lines and hybrid DMH-11 does not raise any public health or safety concerns for human beings and animals with respect to overall nutritional characteristics,’ the report said.

The Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) shot off a letter to the Environment Ministry Additional Secretary Amita Prasad, demanding that the full biosafety data be put into the public domain if the ministry wants to make the process scientific.

‘We write to you now to demand that the full biosafety data be put out into the public domain immediately if this feedback process has to be a meaningful and scientific process.

‘Further, at least 90 days time should be given for feedback from public. We also demand that you look into all feedback that is provided and not try and curtail it to formats that are conveniently created to keep out important questions and queries,” Kavitha Kuruganti of ASHA said.

(Top photo of Kavita Kuruganti of ASHA at an anti-GM mustard press conference in Delhi in June. Photo by Vivian Fernandes).

Hit Counter provided by technology news
Web Design MymensinghPremium WordPress ThemesWeb Development

I Do Not Understand Bt Cotton technology; I Know It Works

Y Kallanagouda Patil, 46, of Uppinbetegeri village in Dharwad taluk  owns 52 acres jointly with his three brothers. He holds a diploma in agriculture from a school in Raichur. Patil grows cotton on ten acres, apart from sugarcane, potato, Bengal gram, jowar, tur,moong and vegetables. He uses groundwater to irrigate his fields. The water is drawn from a depth of 280 feet. Electricity is free so he flood irrigates the fields, except the one under banana  where he uses drip irrigation. He does not micro-irrigate cotton because it is closely planted and has to make way for another crop after eight months. This farmer has his cost all worked out. Making quick mental calculations, he estimates the cost of cotton crop at Rs 22,500 an acre and the realization from 17 quintals an acre at Rs 68,000. He had planted Bayer seed. ‘I do not understand technology, he says, all I know is if I use Bt seed there will be no

Pests Snack on Chilly But Not Cotton

F Basavaraj Rudagi, 48, did not grow cotton before 2008. This farmer from Saundhi village in Dharwad district’s Kundogol taluk made a partial switch to Bt cotton as chilly was susceptible to pest attack and yield was declining. From five acres in 2009, Rudagi had fifteen of a forty acre joint farm under cotton this year, when smartindianagriculture  caught up with him in February. He tried out Bayer in a change from Mahyco and Raasi seed. Rudagi says he got 11.5 quintals (100 kg) an acre from his rain-fed crop and at Rs 4,050 a quintal, his realization was a little over Rs 46,000. The cost, he says, is Rs 26,000 an acre, excluding rental earnings had he leased out the land. This does not mesh with the profit he claims he makes, but then he admits to not keeping crop-wise accounts. Rudagi also grows peanuts, coriander, gram, safflower and jowar. There is safety in diversity. And yes he plants pigeon pea or tur around the cotton crop for bollworms to feed on so they are not forced by the survival instinct to develop resistance to Bt protein.  In this sense he is quite a cut apart. Low cotton prices are worrying but what is the alternative?