Indian farmers are burdened with the task of increasing productivity, keeping in mind a growing population and limited natural resources (“Sow the wind, reap the storm,” Op-Ed, Sept. 2). We are expected to toil in fields with outdated technologies and reap near to no returns for all our hardship. I say this as secretary-general of the Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations. The TEC’s recommendations are a step towards ensuring the dark future of Indian farmers, and we will not allow this. Farmers’ needs need to be supported even in the face of such widespread activism and an unreliable policy landscape.
P. Chengal Reddy,
Last week, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar spoke on how cotton boll worm damage was controlled by Bt cotton. Now, 93 per cent of Indian farmers grow it, with: India’s production going up from 137 lakh bales to 352 lakh bales, yield per hectare going up from 191 kg to 491 kg and farmer’s income doubling. But, it took a decade before they could be fully convinced about Bt cotton.
As an agronomist, I quite agree with the views in the article that those opposing GM crops ignore scientific evidence of their harmlessness and are depriving the nation of the wider benefits of agro-biotechnology.
In 2010, over 148 million hectares of GM crops were grown worldwide with the U.S. in the lead — 66.8 million hectares or 16.5 per cent of its agricultural lands. For India, it was 9.4 million hectares or 5.22 per cent of its land, mostly under Bt cotton. In spite of worldwide practical results, the technical group appointed by the Supreme Court has chosen to stick to the indefinite moratorium recommendation it gave on GM crop trials to the Court, which is quite a surprise.
The writer’s accusation that the Technical Expert Committee is misleading the Supreme Court is not correct. There is also no clear explanation given as to how it is doing this.
One is apprehensive of MNCs as their aim is profit and not welfare. Comparing the methods adopted in China with that in India is also not a right option.
The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development report says that we must look to small holder traditional farming to deliver food security. The concerns of activists are also based on scientific evidence and need to be given attention too. Since there is a possibility that GM crops can cause irreversible damage, every step should be taken cautiously.
Ajish Jimmy George,