Agriculture World

Farmers in Maharashtra to Protest Against Ban on Genetically Modified Crops; Sow Bt Brinjal and Bt Cotton Today

bt brinjal

Farmers’ body ‘Shetkari Sanghatana’ has announced that it will sow genetically modified also known as GM seeds of brinjal & cotton in Maharashtra today, (10th June 2019), even though the varieties are prohibited in the state. As many as 5,000 farmers, under the aegis of Shetkari Sanghatana, are likely to assemble in Akola to sow the transgenic varieties as a sign of protest against the government’s ban.

State President of Shetkari Sanghatana, Anil Ghanwat said, “It will be a peaceful protest. We will only sow the varieties in the fields. However there is possibility that the police may arrest us because the cultivation of these varieties of crops is banned”.

The farmers’ body is against a ban on genetically modified crops as they claim that these are beneficial to the farmers. Ghanwat said, “GM seeds are being used all across the world and we have seen that the costs are not much, pest attacks are fewer & the yields are higher. They are certainly much better for farmers”.

The protest comes days after the Haryana government started a crackdown on illicit cultivation of GM brinjal in the state. Officers visited fields & uprooted the crop that was found to be grown illegally, and also buried it in trenches.

cotton

It is important to mention that Herbicide-tolerant Bt brinjal and Bt cotton are the genetically modified varieties of the 2 crops that the growers want to be able to sow. The sowing of Bt cotton seeds was prohibited in Maharashtra in 2012. The ban was lifted, temporarily, in 2013 but was again banned in 2015.

The use of Bt brinjal for farming has been banned since 2010 when the then Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, imposed a moratorium arguing that stakeholders & scientists were not able to reach a consensus on whether Bt brinjal should be cultivated.

Ghanwat argues that growers must be allowed to use GM varieties particularly as the country already allows the import of certain edibles of the genetically modified variety. He added “We are bringing canola oil from Canada, which is being made using GM genes. If that can be consumed then why not the Bt brinjal? Why can’t farmers grow Bt cotton?”



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Krishi Jagran Marketing
Krishi Jagran