This refers to the editorial "Brinjal and beyond" (Oct. 21). The success of agri-biotechnology will depend on the awareness the government can create among common people. Farmers should be made aware of the advantages of shifting to this system.

A special expert cell can be constituted under the Agriculture Ministry to disseminate information and clarify the doubts of farmers and consumers. Messages should be given in regional dailies explaining the concept of GM food crops. Extensive awareness programmes hold the key to success.

Prasanna Krishnaraj, Tiruvannamalai

The benefits of GM crops notwithstanding, our farmers will be at the mercy of multinationals who will control the distribution of seeds. Our regulatory processes are often mired in controversy and may not be effective in preventing the exploitation of farmers.

While our country should not be deprived of the advantages of GM crops, we should be fully alert to the dangers and aware of the serious consequences arising out of half-hearted regulation and monitoring processes.

K. Muralidharan, Palakkad

As seen from the Bt cotton experience, a mere approval of genetically-modified crops is not sufficient. Farmers should be taught about the adoption of transgenic hybrid varieties. They should be informed of the implications and cultivation methods of GM crops. Agri-biotechnology has a great future in our country and we need it more than anyone else because we have an ever-increasing population to feed.

Anuradha Srinivasan, Chennai

The editorial downplays the fact that Bt brinjal may pose a serious risk to human and animal health. It will impact the country's food security, health, farming and environment.

India is the home of brinjal, and it has been cultivated here for years without the help of fertilizers or pesticides. When there are so many indigenous varieties of brinjal in each region of India, there is no need to borrow Bt brinjal from other countries. India is once again being turned into a guinea pig to make profits for biotech companies.

T. Marx, Puducherry

There is a lot of data about the health hazards posed by GM food, while there is no conclusive data on its safety. We still have a long way to go before fully understanding how genes work, and it is wrong to think we know enough at this juncture. To push this technology commercially in its current state, especially with regard to food, works against one of the highest scientific and ethical principles - precaution.

The government should invest in more laboratory research. To release gene technology-based products into the market would be akin to creating a nuclear bomb after understanding a fraction of quantum physics.

Dilip Burde, Bangalore

GM crops compromise not only food safety but also food security. Monsanto forced thousands of farmers in the United States to discontinue using the seeds they produced and start growing Monsanto corn. Thousands of years of work were replaced by just one breed of corn. The importance of micro bio-diversity cannot be overlooked. But vast areas of land growing a single genetic strain is always a bad idea, as it leads to lesser micro bio-diversity, and genetically engineered products and skewed laws assist in reducing it further.

Rajbir Bhattacharjee, Bangalore

All those who oppose GM crops are not anti-science. Many scientists have been, and still are, critical of GM for a number of reasons. Scientists and scientific academies, including the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, have expressed serious concerns regarding the scientific rigour of experiments and the impact of GM crops, especially on biodiversity. Agribusiness has been doing its best to gain control of food security for profit and it has the full support of those who place blind faith in anything that falls under the rubric of science and those who will benefit financially from agricultural markets.

While political coercion and economic pressure are working in the EU, India is placing faith in unproven new technologies guaranteed to harm its agricultural sector in the long run.

Sujatha Byravan, Chennai

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