Karnataka

Farmers, experts urge govt. not to allow field trials of Bt cotton, maize

Karnataka is witnessing a fresh round of opposition to Genetically Modified (GM) crops and technology with various groups comprising farmers, organic farming associations, and experts petitioning the government against issuing no-objection certificate (NOC) to a private company to carry out restricted field trials of Bt cotton and Bt maize.

NOC sought

The organisations have written to Principal Secretary, Environment and Ecological Department, demanding that the government should desist from giving permission to Rallis India Ltd. that has sought NOC to go ahead with field trials.

The petitioners comprising Nammura Bhoomi Namagirali Anyarigalla (a forum of about 40 organisations including farmers’ unions, organic farming associations, farm labourers’ unions, Grama Seva Sangha, environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy, science and environment columnist Nagesh Hegde, and agri economist and former chairman of Karnataka Agriculture Prices Commission T.N. Prakash Kammaradi) have stated that the firm applied to the government on July 3 seeking permission to carry out trials.

The petitioners pointed out that the State already has a Bt cotton variety. They argued that the State had, in fact, lost its rich diversity in cotton crops as most of the other farmer and nature-friendly native cotton varieties had been discontinued after the arrival of Bt cotton variety in 2002.

They said there were global concerns about the negative impact of BT varieties on ecology and health.

They argued that restricted field trials can also cause damage.

With respect to maize, the petitioners said the government should encourage farmers to grow diverse varieties of food crops as against imposing monoculture of growing only one variety of maize.

Other countries, states

The petitioners maintained that the transgenic technology was not only harmful, but also a stale one. This was the reason why more than 20 countries had completely banned GM crops while half of the 28 European countries had declared themselves as free from GM crops, they said.

Even in India, several states including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Gujarat have decided against allowing field trials of GM crops, they pointed out. They urged the government not to permit field trials for cotton and maize.


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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 10:01:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/farmers-experts-urge-govt-not-to-allow-field-trials-of-bt-cotton-maize/article37013442.ece

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