'Anti-GM Protesters Don't Seem to Understand Science'

'Anti-GM Protesters Don't Seem to Understand Science'
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research's (ICAR) Deputy Director General (Crop Science) Swapan Datta said here today that anti-GM protestors do not seem to understand science and that genetically-modified crops are an extension of modern science.

Researchers wish to improve crops and increase their productivity, he told reporters on the sidelines of the Sixth International Conference on Legumes Genetics and Genomics, organised by the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) here, as part of COP 11.

He said that presently ten million hectares of land is under BT cotton cultivation and that despite the high cost of production, more farmers grew BT cotton because they benefit from doing so.

"In fact, an end has to be put to this practice, to ensure that no more land is used for BT cotton, as there is no extra land for cotton, as other crops also need attention," he said.

He said that farmers will not produce crops if they do not get a good price. "We cannot produce something that farmers don't get a good price. It has to be profit-oriented and at a reduced cost," he said.

He said that GM technology has several benefits including reduction of methane, which is beneficial for the environment.

"GM can be used to expand green technology to help 600 million cattle and 1.2 billion people. However, a regulatory system has to be in place. We are expecting the Biotech Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) to come which will expedite things. BRAI is awaiting parliament approval," he said.

He said that iron-fortified rice, BT rice, ICRISAT's GM-modified groundnut and several other crops await government clearance.

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