India must take note of the success of Bt cotton in the country and formulate clear-cut policy on genetically modified crops, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council said in a report presented on Friday.
The remarks come against the backdrop of the environment ministry’s recent moratorium on the commercial production of Bt Brinjal following vehement voices both for and against the genetically modified crop.
“After the success of Bt cotton and the benefits it has brought to farmers in Gujarat and Maharashtra, it is imperative that the government must have a clear policy on genetically modified crops,” the council said.
“The regulatory framework should clearly assess performance in the field and the impact on environmental and food safety issues and bring the results into the public domain at the shortest possible time,” said the report presented to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
According to the council, chaired by C. Rangarajan, research in agriculture is stymied by factors such as lack of co-ordination between the extensive network of institutions, even as their contribution to raise yields on small farms remained disappointing.
“Since the Green Revolution, no major breakthrough has been witnessed in agricultural research mainly due to inadequate resource allocation, lacunae in content, organisation of research, inefficiencies in extension activities and inadequate risk mitigation strategies for the farmer.”
It has, accordingly, recommended a step up in agricultural research from 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product to 1 percent, as suggested by the Steering Committee on the subject for the 11th Five Year Plan that runs till 2012.