Special Correspondent

Says claims of good yield have been proved wrong

  • GE paddy endangers environment, affects soil quality
  • Ban sought on field-testing of GE crops

    CHENNAI: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa has sought a detailed discussion on the pros and cons of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the next Parliament session, before the National Seeds Bill, 2004 is passed.

    In a statement here on Saturday, she shared the concern of farmers in general and the Tamil Nadu Velan Padhukappu Kuzhu in particular on the ill effects of GE crops. Claims that GE seeds, sold at high prices, give good yield had been proved wrong.

    sGE paddy endangered environment and affected soil quality, besides leading to food poisoning.Several farmers in the Vidharba region of Maharashtra and in Andhra Pradesh had committed suicide owing to poor yield of Bt crop.

    She said multinational companies such as Monsanto were selling GE seeds in India. Japan and European countries had banned the import of such seeds from the United States. Against this backdrop, farmers' associations and environmentalists in India felt that lack of awareness might result in American companies dumping GE seeds on the country.

    A detailed analysis would show that the farmers' apprehension was justified, Ms. Jayalalithaa said. Mexico had banned testing and cultivation of GE crops on its territory after use of such seeds led to deterioration of soil quality and loss of traditional maize strains. In India, the outcome of the testing of GE paddy seeds in the valleys of Koraput in Orissa had adversely affected soil fertility, she pointed out.

    Referring to reports of the death of over 1,000 goats and sheep after consuming Bt cotton leaves at Warangal in Andhra Pradesh, she said such incidents called for a ban on field-testing of the GE crops.

    The cost of GE seeds was the highest in India, she said.