March 2013 - DW World
Genetically modified crops aren’t new in India but they’re still dogged by controversy. Suman Sahai, a Delhi-based scientist and activist, talks about why the technology continues to be so divisive.
"There’s a strong scientific rationale why this technology needs to be regulated. And if you can’t regulate it properly, then it becomes a dangerous technology"...
My biggest fear regards safety and the risks posed to human health and the environment. When we do genetic engineering, all sorts of new things happen within a cell – you could have proteins that are created that are harmful, could elicit an allergic reaction or are toxic. Genes can flow out into the environment and run away into related plants and create problems.
India has a huge research program on genetically modified crops, and unlike many other parts of the world, it also has a very large public sector investment. That means a lot of the research programs are government-funded...and conflict of interest is rampant. There is also the presence of private seed companies and collaborations of these companies with the large US seed company Monsanto...
Rather than this big tech approach, the first step should be to conserve your traditional biodiversity and agro-diversity...
The one thing you never tire of hearing is that this technology is needed to produce more food. But I don’t think genetic engineering has lived out its potential...I don’t see how one particular technology is going to solve a larger food problem that has many complex aspects. Hunger is not a very straightforward situation – it results from a number of factors. It’s absurd to claim that you have this one intervention and that’s going to take care of hunger....
The question we need to ask is how relevant is GM technology to Indian food and agriculture? I think this is a solution looking for a problem. A lot of the plants that biotechnology companies in India are working on don’t make sense to me. I’m also opposed to herbicide tolerant crops - we absolutely do not need them in India. That’s because the "weeds" they kill sustain millions of people, women in particular, who earn through weeding. The weeds are also used as either food or fodder in India...
We need to prioritize our interests and conduct a cost-and-risk-benefit analysis for every GM crop. And we need access to trial data to see how GM products perform. Putting public institutions under public scrutiny testing in the public domain is very essential.
9 February 2013 Times of India
INDIA: 150 SCIENTISTS RAISE CONCERNS ABOUT GM CROPS http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-02-09/india/37006961_1_gm-crops-food-security-gmos
May 31, 2013 Down To Earth, India
INDIA: STAGE SET FOR GM CROPS - INDIA'S MONSANTO PROTECTION ACT http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/stage-set-gm-crops
16 February 2013 Guardian UK
INDIA'S RICE REVOLUTION - IS THIS ONE SOLUTION TO WORLD SHORTAGES? In a village in India's poorest state, Bihar, farmers are growing world record amounts of rice - Audio SlideShow
27 February 2013 - Truthout
VANDANA SHIVA: GM SEEDS AND THE MILITARIZATION FOOD - AND EVERYTHING ELSE http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/14784-activist-seeds-of-gm-foods-war-vsearth-planted-by-military-industrial-forces
MUCH MORE ON INDIA'S GMO REVOLT
WATCH: "SEEDING DEEP DEMOCRACY - Vandana Shiva http://www.scoop.it/t/agriculture-gmos-pesticides/p/1054461972/seeding-deep-democracy-vandana-shiva
WATCH: "BITTER SEEDS" FILM TRAILER : MONSANTO, GMO SEEDS AND INDIAN FARMER SUICICIDES http://sco.lt/5F90Mr