Special Correspondent

Experts' meet says field trials reportedly yielded `worst' results

HYDERABAD: A roundtable organised here on Tuesday by city-based Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) opined that the State Government should reject Bt brinjal as `it is not the need of farmers, does not benefit consumers and there is no crisis in brinjal production in the State.'

Agriculture scientists, farmers' organisations and consumer associations put forward several arguments against the transgenic vegetable.

Limited trials

The meet noted that Bt.brinjal as part of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) - supervised limited field trials was tested in the Acharya N.G.Ranga Agriculture University along with 10 other centres last year.

`Worst' results were obtained from the centre in terms of several parameters, including yields.

Plea to Ministers

The roundtable quoted several groups like Coalition for GM-free India that the country should take a precautionary stand, especially learning from its experience of Bt.cotton, where `illegal' cotton had spread during the large-scale trials stage, with regulators having no control over its subsequent proliferation.

`Promote alternatives'

G.V.Ramanjaneyulu of the centre said the organisation had already raised the issue with the Union Health and Environment Ministries.

He wanted the State to take a proactive stand in disallowing Bt.brinjal taking a cue from Uttaranchal, as it `poses serious environmental and health hazards besides violating farmers' rights.

M.S.Chari, noted agriculture scientist and former director of Central Tobacco Research Institute, observed that `there is no reason whatsoever why the State Government or the Centre cannot promote other well-established and safer alternatives for pest management in brinjal".

Regulations violated

A. Prasada Rao, another scientist and adviser to farmers' movements in the State, noted that the performance of Bt. brinjal during the field trails was not only worst but there were worse failures in the bio-safety regulations.