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Last Updated Monday September 25 2017 04:30 AM IST

Why Kerala opposes commercialization of GM mustard

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mustard-honeybee A honeybee collects nectar from a mustard flower in Dimapur, Nagaland. AFP/File photo

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Assembly Friday passed a resolution, demanding that the Center withdraw the decision to grant permission for production and cultivation of Genetically Modified Mustard seed for commercial purposes.

Moving the resolution, agriculture minister V.S. Sunil Kumar said it was unfortunate that the Center's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) had accorded sanction for production and cultivation of GM mustard.

GM crops would be cultivated in the country if it was also approved by the environment ministry and 'it is a very serious issue', he said.

He demanded that the Center not implement GEAC's decision as GM seeds would adversely affect farmers and the agriculture sector.

It would destroy traditional seeds and farmers would have to depend on multinationals for their cultivation.

He said most states are also against GM crops. Sunil Kumar said it has not yet been proved if GM crops would result in more yields, and claimed that it has been found that GM seeds attracts new insects.

Powerful pesticides would have to be used to safeguard crops from attacks of these insects, which in turn would harm human health, he pointed out.

The minister alleged that some vested interest groups, taking cover under efforts to achieve self sufficiency in edible oil, were trying to get sanction for GM mustard.

GM trials were progressing in 75 varieties of crops and their target was to get approval for all crops one by one after getting sanction for GM mustard, he alleged.

"This move is dangerous to the country, farmers and also the agriculture sector", he said adding that GM crops are against the interest of the people.

Congress-led UDF Opposition leader supported the resolution and wanted a detailed discussion on the matter, to which the minister said government would hold a debate in due course.

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