Farmers to defy govt. ban on GM crops

To sow herbicide-tolerant Bt cotton in Haryana’s Hisar district on July 5

Published - June 28, 2019 11:07 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

Farmers supporting cultivation of genetically modified (GM) varieties of crops in the country are all set to defy the government ban on cultivation of GM crops as they plan to sow seeds of banned herbicide-tolerant Bt cotton in Haryana, next month.

The pro-GM supporters are demanding that the Centre allow cultivation of GM crops across the country as they claim the crops were absolutely safe for consumption. They argue that the farmers be allowed to reap benefits of modern technology, which would help them boost their income by fetching better returns.

To show anguish

“We have decided to sow herbicide-tolerant Bt cotton, the banned GM variety, in the field of one of our fellow farmers at Sarangpur village in Haryana’s Hisar district on July 5,” Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Haryana unit president Gun Parkash told The Hindu .

Mr. Parkash said, “We want to defy the ban to show our anguish... to protest and force the government to pay heed to our demands. A few hundred farmers on June 10 had gathered at Akot village in Maharashtra’s Akola district and sowed herbicide-tolerant Bt cotton to register their protest. Later, Maharashtra Police registered cases against at least 12 farmers under the IPC sections that deal with cheating and dishonesty along with sections of the Environment Protection Act and the Seeds Act.”

“With the use of GM technology the costs are reduced, insect-pest attacks are lower and the yield is higher, but our farmers can’t reap the benefits because it’s banned. We want the government to allow cultivation of GM crops,” said Mr. Parkash.

He added that in July, farmers under the BKU banner also plan to plant GM brinjal in Haryana.

“We are currently preparing nurseries of GM brinjal in polyhouses. Once the saplings are ready, we will plant them in fields,” said Mr. Parkash.

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