Take pro-poor stand & promote GM crops to provide food security to growing population: ASSOCHAM plea to Centre
Apex industry body ASSOCHAM today urged the Central Government to continue allowing research in crop biotechnology (BT) and simultaneously identify areas to develop a more strong regulatory system for India to become global food hub.
"There is a need for the Government of India
to take a
pro-poor stand by allowing large scale production of genetically
modified (GM) crops and develop technologies for long-term
agriculture sustainability without considering social discourses
which shall hamper food security ambitions to meet growing demands of
country's burgeoning population," according to a paper titled
'Analysis on GM Crops in India,' brought out by The Associated
Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India
"Biotechnology applications in agriculture
should be a part of the package of solutions to address
socio-economic needs of our growing population which is likely to
reach 150 crore by next decade," said D.S. Rawat, secretary general
of ASSOCHAM while releasing the chamber's paper.
view to deliver best value for the produce to the farmer, the
Government and the industry should work together to identify high
priority crops useful for India
and provide necessary policy
support," said Rawat.
"Measures like identifying genetic
trait, employing water resistant techniques, promoting high pesticide
usage and providing fertilizer subsidy would help improve
agricultural productivity and counter the challenges of drought,
salinity, poor irrigation facilities and others," he added.
is known for its multi-agro climatic zone, thus selecting the most
suitable varieties and hybrid crops grown for commercial cultivation
across the country like rice, cotton, sorghum, wheat, corn, mustard,
soybeans, vegetables, pulses and others to incorporate the genetic
trait would address farmer challenges, further noted the paper
prepared by the ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau
Considering that agriculture has a share of about 18
per cent in India's gross domestic product (GDP) and employs over
half of country's population, the sector holds grave significance
in view of its role in ensuring food security, promoting employment
generation and reducing poverty.
As such there is a pressing
need for tools and technologies to help the agriculture sector
overcome the handicap of constraints and allow the productivity to
soar to higher levels, thus field trials as a precursor to adoption
of biotechnology is a certain way forward, noted the ASSOCHAM
The Government should also ensure benefits of
advancement of science and technology
to reach India's farmers to
enable them to compete globally.
Blending plant breeding
techniques with conventional farming systems to improve crop yields,
developing technologically aided weed management mechanism,
developing new technologies to counter growing labour shortage and
abundant use of water in paddy cultivation, promoting use of seeds
with biotech traits to protect crops from disease infestation and
boost farmers' productivity and income are certain key suggestions
listed by ASSOCHAM in favor of GM crops.
Cultivation of crops
with the bt gene would substantially increase farmer's income owing
to savings in pesticides, increased marketable yields, while
consumers would benefit from a relatively much less pesticide sprayed
vegetables, less prices coupled with environmental benefits, further
noted the ASSOCHAM paper.