GM Crop: Shall India Move Ahead
Posted by shivamkesari
India habitating a large population of 125 crore substantially needs to ensure food security for all. An ability for indigeneous food production to meet the demand and further have provision for sufficient buffer stock to meet any adverse situation will only make India strong and stable and preserve its sovereignty. We can’t forget the days of early yaers of 1960s when we had to look towards USA for food grains and their mal-response to us, thanks to Russia which came to rescue us from food scarcity. The time at now is much better than 1960s, credit surely goes to The Green Revolution, Dr. M. S. Swaminathan (Agricultural Scientist) and Smt Indira Gandhi. The situation is better not best, we still need enough food security and provision of sufficient buffer stock and furthermore we need to diversify our food production and stock. For last two years El-Nino had negative impact on Kharif Crops followed by damage of Rabi Crops due to western disturbance. Year 2016 will probably continue to be the same. There is urge for urgent solution for crop failure.
There are voices supporting GM food crops which is said to ensure higher productivity per acre of land as compared to traditional seeds/crops. Developed Nations are either moving forward to GM Crops or going through extensive field trial. Whatever facts are being produced in support of high productivity of GM crops, those are based on farm produces in developed nation. Here we need to note that developed nation’s high productivity is not only due to adoption of GM seeds, along with it they also have strong infrastructural support to agriculture. Agriculture over there is completely mechanized. Small population and availability of large pool of land had made it possible. Whereas situation of India is almost opposite– Large population and small piece of land, hardly making land availability of more than 1 acre per farmer family. Food crop loss in India is mainly due to lack of irrigation facilities, unseasonal rain and decreasing productivity of soil. Through genetic modification of crop seeds the plant can be made drought resistant, withstand water log and pest resistant. It will surely make India food secured. But the technology also has disfunctions and it can’t be ignored straightway.
Technology of GM cotton crop has been introduced in India through genetically modified BT Cotton seed into which a gene of a Bacteria, Bacterio Thuriengenesis, had been inserted which proves toxic to bug which feeds on cotton balls. Fibre of cotton balls contain the toxic and kill the bug when it feeds on it. This was manifest function of Bt cotton seed but unfortunately the seed had also been modified to ensure that it doesn’t reproduce new seeds, as the farmers practice to preserve the seeds from current Crops to sow it in
next cropping. This had blown hard on Farmers economy as they have always to purchase new seeds. Initially Bt cotton seed was introduced at competetive price and had shown good response to farmers in increased productivity of cotton balls. The fox idea ultimately kicked out all other brands of cotton seed from the market. The firm producing Bt Cotton gained monopoly and subsequently increased seed price to Rs. 3000 per KG while traditional seed was available at just around Rs 700 per Kg. Enjoying patent right they are secure to lead the market for next 10 more years.
In India GM crop has not been allowed food crops because it may have harmful affect on human health as field testing of GM crop is also controversial. The fear exist that the normal cropping pattern will be endangered. Further with stiff patent regime the seed producer will have monopoly. The agro pressure group are vigilant now and had ensured that GM food crop trial and uses doesn’t get nod.
India has sufficient land and Human resources to make India self sufficient in food crops. As on date India has sufficient buffer stock of grains, there is lack of pulses, linseed and vegetables but that’s solely because of non-existence of Gov necessary support to farmers for the years. Specifically after 1990s reforms. When there was support and attention of Gov during Green Revolution we have result of enhanced production. Affect of introducing and adopting this new technology may be harsh as we are already victim of depleting ground water table and increasing salination and decreasing productivity of soil in north western India. Instead of introducing GM crops primacy shall be emphasized on improving Agriculture infrastructure such as irrigation, organic fertilizers, cold houses, rural credit support and crop insurance. Agricultural literacy program shall be started to further improve tradition way of farming instead of using GM crop. The current Government of India is welcomed in giving attention to Agriculture and Farmers in Budget 2016-17. But history of administration in India has been not up to the mark. We always have good programs and schemes of GOV but we always lack in their implementation. Hope the current government also emphasize at implementation part of the programs in time bound manner with provision of regular monitoring.
There is long way before we need to adopt GM crops.