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India has portrayed 'rosy picture' of Bt cotton: panel
Aug '17
Indian Government agencies have portrayed ‘a rosy picture’ of the transgenic Bt Cotton that is far removed from the truth and the ‘duality of the claims about the increase in yield of cotton’ needs further examination, the parliamentary standing committee on science and technology headed by Congress party MP Renuka Chowdhury said in a recent report.

Released last week, the report criticised the government for its ‘casual’ approach toward the need for a scientific study on the impact of transgenic crops on health, a leading daily reported quoting the report.

“Can you imagine they did not think it fit to carry out any study on impact of GM crops on human or animal health? All the studies that the government have been quoting are done in other countries growing GM crops,” Chowdhury said.

The report claimed the government cited only overall cotton output and not the average yield in area. “India’s cotton yields increased by 69 per cent in the five years (2000-2005) when Bt Cotton was less than 6 per cent of total cotton area, but by only 10 per cent in the 10 years from 2005-2015 when Bt Cotton grew to 94 per cent of the total cotton area,” it observed.

The committee noted that 20 years after introduction of genetically-modified (GM) crops in 1996, only six countries — the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, China and India — continue to account for over 90 per cent of all such crop area globally. “If GM technology was so good, then why would all the countries not embrace it?” Chowdhury asked.

If GM crops are grown surrounded by indigenous crops, there is no way contamination can be stopped and the country could lose the competitive edge of some of its unique products, she added. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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