GM Mustard Will Not Affect Honey Bees, says SABC Quoting Study, Experts

Pollen of genetically-engineered mustard will not affect honey bees. On the contrary, it is likely to have a beneficial effect and increase honey production, says the South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) in a press release.

SABC points to the bio-safety docket on genetically-modified mustard placed in the public domain by the environment ministry for comments. The docket says: ‘Expression of the introduced proteins, encoded by the barnase and barstar genes, is controlled by a tapetum-specific promoter and no expression is detected in the pollen. As a consequence, the exposure of the pollinating insects to these proteins is likely to be negligible.’

Canada, United States and Australia have been growing GM rapeseed (called Canola) since 1996. CD Mayee, plant pathologist and President, SABC says, ‘No significant adverse effects of GM canola on pollinators, honey bees and honey production have ever been reported by these countries in the last 20 years.’

The pollen viability of GM mustard, DMH-11, is similar to the parental (non-GM) line Varuna and has fully developed nectarines. In biosafety level I and II trials, honey bees were observed to visit both DMH-11 and their non-GM comparators, Vibha Gupta, principal scientist, Delhi University South Campus, who is a member of the team which developed the GM hybrid, said.

They were reacting to comments made by the Confederation of Bee-Keeping Industry based in Hafizpur village of Haryana’s Yamuna Nagar district during a press conference on 6 September.

‘GM mustard does not contain any insecticide that will kill honeybees visiting its flowers, nor enhance use of spray-able insecticides.  On the contrary, GM mustard with its hybrid vigour will help in increasing more visits of honey bees and consequently of their population. It is this simple logic that we all know and this Confederation needs to learn”, SABC quoted Govind Gujar, former head of Indian Agricultural Research Institute’s department of entomology as saying.

(Photo of honeybee on a dandelion by Sandy Bedfordshire, courtesy Wikimedia Commons).

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?