A senior Agriculture Scientist has cautioned the Centre on introduction of GM crops in the country observing that Indian agriculture was ‘so diverse and biodiversity very vast.’ “One has to take into consideration all crucial facts before one jumps onto the GM bandwagon”, Food and Agriculture Organisation Consultant K.P. Prabhakaran Nair said while presenting a paper at a national seminar on ‘GM crops and Food Security’ here on Tuesday.

On Biotechnology regulator Genetic Engineering Approval Committee clearing Bt brinjal - country’s first genetically modified (GM) food- for commercial use, he said the move evoked mixed reaction from scientists, stake holders and civil society. The verdict was against GM crops, he said.

India faced a similar situation in the early sixties when the ‘miracle’ wheat seeds were introduced in the country.

It was true that the nation harvested large amounts of food grains but paid a heavy environmental toll in terms of degraded soils, dried aquifiers, polluted groundwater and vanished bio-diversity, Nair said.

Industrial agriculture, with high input technology, also did not go well with India’s ethos and the country was now seeking a different path based on sustainable agriculture. It was at this time that GM crops have made their appearance, he said.

Indian Biodiversity Forum Chairman, S. Faizi said, genetically modified organisms contain inherent risks to biodiversity and human health. The Seminar was jointly organised by Kerala Biotechnology Commission and Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment.