Crops

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According to ‘World Health Organisation’ “Genetically modified (GM) crops are crops derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism. i. GM crops are described by many different names:(i) Genetically Engineered crops (GE) (ii) Transgenic or Biotech Crops (iii) Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) .e.

. • GM crop can give much higher yield as compared to normal crops • GM crop can improve farmers yearly income owing to high yield CROPS • GM Superbugs or Super-weeds might evolve AGAINST to be resistant to the chemicals or toxins developed in conjunction with GM crops.FOR • Use of pesticides or herbicides can be minimized and thus will benefit the environment and wildlife. • The growing of GM crops could result in cross-pollination between GM crops and non-GM and organic crops thereby contaminating them.. the result being monocultures.GM CROPS . • GM crops might result in toxic and allergic reactions in certain people. for e. • GM crops can be engineered to survive and grow in unfavorable conditions and withstand drought or floods.g. there is a need to adopt the precautionary principle. • Because it is a new technology. modifying them to include extra vitamins and nutrients. • GM food could be made healthier than conventional foods by. • GM crops will result in increased dependency on transnational biotech corporations to supply seed and chemicals.

possibly leading to disease or allergens in the human population Nothing can really be “Proved Safe” . There are concerns about accidental release. the lack of evidence of negative effects does not mean that new genetically modified foods are without risk Scientists recommend that food safety assessment should take place on a case-bycase basis before genetically modified food is brought to the market Concerns about the potential for mutation. soybean.GM Crop – What Scientists say Foodstuffs made of genetically modified crops that are currently available (mainly maize. and the methods used to test them have been deemed appropriate (per World Health Organisation) However. and oilseed rape) have been judged safe to eat.

Environmental effect Positive impact • • • Dramatic reduction in pesticide use. • Monarch butterflies are specifically at risk from GMO maize plants. bees and butterflies being the most talked-about examples currently. • In the USA. and animals to the same problems. • Irrigation carries all of these problems into water sources and into the air. This exposes different bacteria. natural ecosystems Direct effects on non-target organisms • GMOs may be toxic to non-target organisms. The adoption of conservation and no-till cultivation practices saved nearly 1 billion tons of soil per year Biotech cotton has been documented to have a positive effect on the number and diversity of beneficial insects in the US and Australian cotton fields Negative impacts • • • Potential of the introduced genes to outcross to weedy relatives and form new weedy species • It is not impossible for new. especially no-till cultivation system. but their toxic legacies will remain. human modified.000 tons of formulated pesticides in 2001 Herbicide tolerant crops have facilitated the continued expansion of conservation tillage. adoption of GM crops resulted in pesticide use reduction of 46. in the USA. insects.4 million pounds in 2003 • The use of Bt cotton in China resulted in pesticide use reduction of 78. plants to become invasive species in delicate. Development of insect resistance • Pests that are targeted may adapt to the DNA changes in GM plants to make them ¨resistant¨. This means that they will not always be effective. .What Scientists say . with the size of the reduction varying between crops and introduced trait.

Cases have been reported where GM crops approved for animal feed or industrial use were detected at low levels in the products intended for human consumption.toxins or allergens could be produced in plants.What Scientists say .Impact on Food Production and Human Health GM crops contributes to food production increases and higher food availability Can provide stabilized food supply year on year GM technology can help to breed food crops with higher contents of micronutrients Gene transfer from GM foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health Allergenicity .  . caused by the action of inserted gene switches and gene promoters Outcrossing .

Why Ban? • With new findings coming everyday. countries want to play safe • They simply want to take time to do proper research and develop better test before allowing GM • There is a huge opposition against the GM crops Why Allow? • Countries have reached there saturation point in terms of land availability and hence want to use GM crop to increase productivity • There are very few evidence on harmful effects of GM crop and these countries deems it safe for usage .

the area under these crops has risen more than hundredfold from 1. according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) • Since 1996.5 mh • It represents the fastest ever adoption of any technology in agriculture • While India’s GM crop acreage is wholly dominated by Bt cotton — much of it based on the US life sciences giant Monsanto’s proprietary “Bollgard” technology .Current status of GM crops in India • India has the fourth largest area planted under genetically modified (GM) crops.7 mh to 181. when farmers first commercially planted transgenics.

Non availability of non BT seeds • Introduced in 2005 • Seeds 4 times higher than non-Bt seeds • Crop failures and debt traps . new area in Gujarat. new insecticides.Highest adoption rate(80% area) • Yields initially increased by just 18% up to 2007-08 and then declined to 2% • Yield increase by 2004 was mainly due to the IPM/IRM strategies.e.India’s experience so far with the adoption of GM cotton crops (i. Bt cotton) • Introduced in 2002 . new Gujarat hybrids. farmers have to use pesticides after 90days invariably on Bt (Warangal cotton too ) • Bt cotton cannot resist the infestation. apart from the 5.Sudden growth in crop failures and suicides Maharash (Highest in 2006) tra • Rice growing areas lesser suicides than suicides in cotton growing areas .4% area under Bt cotton • Research by agronomists Kiran Sakhari and Abdul Gayum • Rhizoctonia Infestation in 2006 (caused by some undesirable interaction where the gene was introduced) AP • False claims by Monsanto.

Arguments for the cultivation of GM crops . lower costs • Decrease in requirement of pesticides and fertilizers means lesser costs for the farmers. the introduction & development of new technologies is necessary for rural revival. high yielding. • Considering the amount of crop wastage in India due to inefficient supply chain.Indian context   • For rapidly increasing Indian population and decreasing land size under farming. nutritional. yields are at a fraction of global levels. . GM Crops will ensure food security. which provides the much needed lift to already shattered Indian farmers • Considering GM crops can also sustain in the conditions of drought. GM Crops offers a solution in that they have longer shelf life • With farm holdings shrinking in many parts of India and the migration of farmers to other occupations for a variety of reasons. cultivable land is shrinking and weather patterns have become less predictable. A model that can be sustainable. it can put a check to the farmers over dependency on the unstable Indian rainfall seasons • Farmers are stuck with old technology.

Hence. • Regulation was excessive and it is denying the benefits to the poor. • Concern for safety & long-term effects on the environment • Concentration of intellectual property resources • One of the prime fears related to biotechnology is that the GM crops  may lead to a monoculture and devastate the biodiversity that maybe like a self  serving bio weapon on a target nation • To justify the introduction of GM crops in areas of origin “there needs to be extraordinarily compelling reasons” and an absence of “other choices”. GM cotton was being Vidarbha.Indian context   • It will lead cultivated in as the other corporations to existing varieties vanishing eventually. Farmers there said they had no choice but to buy and cultivate GM seeds varieties were no longer available. GM crops that offer incremental advantages or solutions to specific and limited problems are not sufficient reasons to justify such release . there are fears that it will lead to some monopolizing the seed market • The field is evolving and the impact of such crops on the environment and also on the human body isn't  clearly understood yet • The existing regulatory mechanism in India is weak.Arguments against the cultivation of GM crops . For instance.

Not able to conduct adequate field trails “We will not rush through. but we will also not come in the way of science” Need more conclusive data to proceed further Plans to keep bio safety data out to the public domain Industry • “Wasting invaluable time in unnecessary probing” • A comprehensive biotechnology policy should be developed in consultation with al stakeholders • Consultative and participative process should be in place • Awareness to clear of public perceptions Civil Society • Strong public and political opposition amid fears about compromising on health safety and biodiversity Ex: Monsanto Case • Fears about long-term human and environmental safety. but it's for larger interest of people of the country .Different Viewpoints – Indian Context Government • • • • Not able to leverage GM technology to its fullest potential due to strong opposition. monopolies in seeds and food sovereignty • Allege that regulatory bodies and scientific publications are in bed with GM corporates Scientific community • Unable to conduct independent research on GM crops as patents prevent full access to research materials • Scientists from institutions like IARI and ICAR and other research bodies argued that demand for scientific trials has nothing to do with benefiting a company A or company B.

India has become the world's second-largest producer and exporter of the fiber Nutrition Livestock 03 03 04 04 Agriculture 02 02 05 05 Economy Yield 01 01 Why GM Crops 06 06 .Need for GM crops Environment 1. Beside humans. which is very important given the fact that our population is growing heavily. so they can be harvested sooner and more often during the year.  4. this decreases global warming through the increase of oxygen in the environment. India is lacking on yield increase. They have an increased resistance. livestock and animals are also beneficiaries to the higher nutritious value of GMO crops. As more crops (plants) can be grown and at more places. the farmer have dire condition because agriculture is very much dependent on climate and land but GM crops decreases maturation time of the plants. is the country's only GM crop and covers 95 percent of India's cotton cultivation. GMO crops will give a boost to yield and could be a second green revolution 2. 6. From being a net importer. decreasing the proportion of carbon dioxide. In India. GMO crops nutrition value can be increased that will eventually help specially the poor strata of people and will hence help in reducing sickness and illness 3. and hardiness 5. For example. Bt cotton. It will affect the economic condition of India. productivity. which produces its own pesticide.

. and put an indefinite pause on field trials of GM crops. • While the regulatory mechanism is under the control of the Union environment ministry. BRAI Bill with suggested • A blanket ban of 10 years on field trials of transgenic food crops • Role of scientists is minimum in decision making • The rules framed under the environment law are enforced through an administrative order without any legislative sanction. • Passage of amendments.Policy and Administrative Issues • A glaring dichotomy between the powers of the Centre and states over regulating GM crops and permitting their experimentation or cultivation in open fields. • This creates unwarranted misperceptions about these crops and raises misgivings over their safety for health and environment. This leads to Centre-state conflicts in decisionmaking. the broad field of agriculture is a state subject. 1986. overrule the permission granted to Bt Brinjal by the GEAC. thereby projecting them as inherently harmful. • GM crops have been listed among the hazardous substances under the Environment Protection Act. • This leaves them open to change at any time. • This weak point allowed the Ministry to take over GM crop approval authority.

Need more research Proprietary rights need to be stated firmly in order to keep check on monopolization by corporates Just like FSSAI.Conclusion and suggestions We need to have stability in food and agriculture as majority of the population is engaged in agriculture Though we have seen improvement in yield in the case of BT Cotton. So. there should be a separate institution that would label the GMO crop as good or bad Scientists should be given more freedom who are currently restricted by IPR’s because the Land available for farming is decreasing and to counter this. we better focus on already existing techniques to improve yield while simultaneously investing on R & D on GM Crops . the technology has to evolve and improve India's yield per hectare is 25% in comparison to developed economies. more impetus on safety should be given while adopting for food crops There is no conclusive evidence on safety concerns regarding GM crops.

so possibility of bad repercussions is high • Impetus should be on R & D. Govt. should encourage PPP Models but safeguard the proprietary rights • Public & Civil society groups cannot forget the bad implications of previous haphazardly implemented failed innovations . the focus is on eradicating crop failures.FIELD VISIT: Indian Institute of Spices Research • NO Genetically Modified Crops incidence in Spices Category • As of now. India is in comfortable position for food. no immediate hurry to jump into GM crops • India hasn’t reached saturation in terms of yield unlike other developed countries like USA who are proactive in terms of adopting GM Technology • No conclusive evidence on 97% of DNA. increasing yield through innovative techniques & improved technology Viewpoint on GM Crops • As of now.

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