Bihar to continue ban on GM seeds

PATNA: Over 500 varieties of different crop seeds were on display at Gandhi Museum here as agriculturists from all over the country descended on the state capital to take part in the ‘Seed Festival’ being organized to promote the practice of saving seeds by farmers.

“Seed is the basic input and is the lifeline of agriculture. Local farming communities have preserved and reused their diverse indigenous seed varieties over generations,” said agriculture minister Narendra Singh while inaugurating the two-day festival. He said it is with this practice of preserving and reusing seeds that all the agricultural biodiversity has been maintained and developed.

The minister said it was a proud moment to share with agriculturists from all corners of the country. Bihar has become the first state to ban the genetically modified (GM) seeds in the larger interest of farmers. He also vowed to block entry of any company permitted by the Centre to conduct field trials of genetically modified corns in the state.

Singh said it was time to awaken the farming community at all levels and to uplift them, and added that emphasis should be on indigenous seeds and defeat the imperialistic expansion of multinationals. Convener of GM-Free Bihar Movement, Pankaj Bhushan said the situation has started changing with the introduction of Green Revolution that has ushered in modern crop varieties.

Agriculture expert Devendra Sharma said the Union government’s fresh endeavour to give GM crops a big push at the cost of conventional as well as organic agriculture was not in the best interests of the country and our farmers.
TNN | Jul 9, 2012, 03.58AM IST

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