Prominent social groups working on organic farming in Punjab have reacted strongly to promotion of genetically modified (GM) crops by agri major Mahyco and scientists of the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), describing it as a ‘trap’ by agri business corporations. 

In a statement issued here on Saturday, the Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM), Environmental Health Action Group, Indian Doctors for Peace and Development, Bharat Jan-Vigyan Jatha and others said GM crops are unsustainable in the long run and their introduction bodes ill for the future of Indian agriculture.

Umendra Dutt of KVM said it is unfortunate that instead of promoting biodiversity, the NBPGR is promoting GM crop monocultures with corporations such as Mahyco which are facing criminal charges of bio piracy in the country.

Questioning the mandate of NBPGR in promoting GM crops, Mr. Dutt said the Bureau is supposed to be a repository of germ plasm and plant genetic diversity. “Using of taxpayers’ funds to unscientifically promote GMOs at the behest of the Agriculture Minister will not hoodwink the nation, when scientific evidence is emerging on the adverse effects of GMOs,” he added. 

 The groups protested “the scare-mongering by the so-called scientists around food security” at a time the Agriculture Minister has announced that India is expecting a record food production this year.