Need to clear air on genetically modified products stressed

Technological modernisation of agriculture in India is welcome only if it helps achieving ecological and economical sustainability for the people in general and the large number of small land holdings across the country, according to All India Kisan Sabha vice-president Kolli Nageswara Rao.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Mr. Nageswara Rao said that the Kisan Sabha in a declaration on bio-technology, food security and Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill-2009 stated that the fruits of various emerging bio-technologies should be harnessed for the benefit of farmers, environment and the people in general.

Emerging technologies that improved productivity, quality and quantity of production without any negative effect on the health of the people should be welcomed.

Mr. Nageswara Rao said the declaration made after a national seminar on bio-technology, food security and the bio-tech regulatory authority bill recently was for the introduction of a robust bio-safety regulatory system to create confidence in farmers and consumers on the various genetically modified (GM) products that were being created as part of research in bio-technology.

He said genetically modified products like BT Cotton have led to various types of doubts and concerns in the farming community. There was immediate need to address these concerns and resolve them.

The declaration was for the strengthening of the public sector so that they could provide safer technologies for farmers and consumers.

The biotechnology regulatory authority should be a multi-ministerial committee anchored with the Ministry of Environment.

The states of the country and farmers should be given control and choice over technologies. And their rights over the various products, be it GM or organic, should be protected by the authority, Mr. Nageswara Rao said.

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