Indian farmer Rajesh Kumar published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today that expresses his discontent with the Indian government’s recent decision to deny the use of genetically modified (GM) brinjal (eggplant) by Indian farmers.
Mr. Kumar describes the potential gains from GM brinjal, including the need for fewer pesticide applications since the crop has a built-in resistance to pests. He writes that this quality would allow for the cultivation of better and safer foods. Additionally, Mr. Kumar writes that the adoption of GM brinjal would be economically beneficial for India by improving farm production and thus reducing the economic disparity between the rich and poor in India. The opportunity for higher yields will also help fight malnutrition in India, a concern that is rising with the increasing population.
Mr. Kumar recognizes that for India to compete and feed its growing population, the farmers must be allowed to participate in the “gene revolution” and utilize all available scientific tools.
You can read Rajesh Kumar’s entire op-ed here. Additionally, the Council for Biotechnology Information interviewed and videotaped Mr. Kumar at the annual World Food Prize Symposium in October 2009. You can watch a video that features an interview with him here.