Patna, 1st September 2016: Meeting a delegation of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) on the issue of GM mustard, Bihar Chief Minister Sh Nitish Kumar assured the group of his active intervention on this matter of urgent concern. He promised that he would write to the Prime Minister on the subject explaining why GM mustard should not be approved by the Centre. “Bt cotton experience in India has clearly shown that Genetic Modification is a failed technology. Then why should this technology be now cleared for Mustard, a food crop?”, he asked. He further elaborated and said that GM technology in Cotton was introduced to protect it from Bollworm but the pest is now resistant to Bt toxin, and farmers are using large amounts of chemical pesticides on Bt cotton. “We are promoting organic farming in the state of Bihar and GM cultivation will not be allowed here”, he said.
While talking about experience and expertise of farmers in Bihar, especially organic farmers, he said that “Our farmers are scientists themselves and have been demonstrating impressive successes in Rice, Potato, Brinjal and Mustard crops using natural methods and agro-ecological innovations. There is no need for any technology which has the potential of distorting the natural food system and spoiling the environment”, he said.
He assured ASHA-Kisan Swaraj Network members from Karnataka, Bihar and Gujarat that he will take up this issue directly with the Prime minister of India Sri Narendra Modi through a letter demanding scrapping of approval for all GM crops.
Earlier in the day, over a hundred representatives from civil society groups, people’s movements and farmers’ coalitions participated in a daylong meeting on GM crops and their potential threats. They also planned strategies to halt the advancement of GM Mustard for commercial release.
ASHA members pointed out that the GM mustard application which is in an advanced stage of processing by Government of India regulators is a herbicide tolerant crop, which will increase chemical usage in mustard farming, creating adverse health and environmental impacts. Importantly, this will also impact the livelihood opportunity of female agricultural workers. They pointed out that many Committees have already recommended against the entry of such herbicide tolerant crops into India. “The Government of India’s regulators should have never even accepted the application of such crops”, said Pankaj Bhushan of GM Free Bihar Movement. This GMO is unneeded, unwanted and unsafe, he said. He urged citizens to be aware of the dangers of GM crops and foods, and asked them to register their rejection of the technology by giving a missed calls to 04433124242.
For more information, contact Pankaj Bhushan at 9472999999.