Indigenously developed genetically modified (GM) mustard seeds have been given technical clearance in India and field trials have also been completed. Now only, the government needs to give its approval and if it is given, GM mustard will become the first genetically modified food crop to be grown commercially in the country.
The Application from Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants seeks to commercially grow three different types of GM mustard — hybrid GM mustard (DMH-11 or Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11) and its two parental lines.
There are different debates in support and against the production of GM mustard.
Deepak Pental, former vice-chancellor of Delhi University, lead researcher of GM mustard project believes that with the ever-increasing population in the country, people won’t be able to feed themselves unless crop production gets a scientific and technological advancement.
In an interview to Times Of India, he said that Canada is a big producer of rapeseed which is almost similar to mustard and 100% of its produce is transgenic. Japan does not grow this transgenic crop, but is a huge importer. Japan can afford to do that because it is rich. India has to make choices.
But they were many, who believe that GM mustard won’t be potentially good for India. Food and trade policy analyst Devinder Sharma, on his blog mentions, the fact that GM mustard increases productivity is not true. There’s no gene that can increase productivity.
A petition by change.org against GM mustard reads, “Genetic Engineering is an unnatural and imprecise breeding technology with living organisms and there is enough evidence that it is an unstable, unpredictable, irreversible and uncontrollable technology being deployed in our food and farming systems. This then has implications for our health and environment. Further, increased riskiness in agriculture, lack of choices for farmers and consumers, market rejection are all consequences of the environmental release of GMOs.”
GM mustard can have adverse effects on crops. If crops in adjacent fields of GM crop gets contaminated to even a little amount, it will be a loss for the farmers who have ‘organic’ certification.
There has been hardly any funding for research on the effects of GM crops. Most of the research goes on proving that these crops are safe.
Besides, the introduction of this crop will take the jobs of women workers in the field. The weeds will be killed without the need for manual labourers.
The Logical Indian urges community members to do a thorough research on the pro and cons of GM mustard crop and then decide whether you want this to be available in the market or not.
If you don’t want GM Mustard crops to be grown in our country, please call 044 3312 4242