The Indian government would do well to relax regulations on GM crops, and encourage agricultural innovation to promote food security and reduce poverty, stressed environmental activist Mark Lynas in a recent interview with the Business Standard.
When asked how GM technology could benefit India, Lynas responded that the technology can be used to bolster the country’s food security, pointing out that “it can help farmers by reducing the need for pesticides and delivering higher yields for fewer inputs. It can also deliver drought tolerance, and help make Indian farming more resilient in the face of climate change.”
Lynas also described how the adoption of GM crops could contribute to poverty reduction in India. “Raising productivity for poor-country farmers would be the quickest route to attack poverty, and yet the campaigners seem content to see farmers in developing country stuck in an organic version of the Stone Age. GM crops can help protect against diseases, and in some case are the only option - one example is bananas, which are under attack from a new bacterial wilt in Eastern Africa, and for which resistance can only be brought by GM because bananas are sterile and propagated clonally,” he explained. READ MORE »
Physician and molecular biologist Henry I. Miller cautioned India against stifling the cultivation of biotech crops, pointing out that India has already reaped significant economic and environmental benefits by using the technology. “Following the adoption of the genetically improved varieties and intensive crop management practices of the Green Revolution, from 1960 to 2000 India’s wheat yields increased more than three-fold,” he stated.
“During the past decade, widespread adoption of an insect-resistant, genetically engineered crop called Bt-cotton has drastically reduced the use of chemical pesticides in cotton fields, enhanced food security and improved farmers’ bottom line,” he noted in The Wall Street Journal. Miller, who is a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, added that economists Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot estimate that the pest-resistant Bt-cotton boosted India’s economy by $9.4 billion between 2002 and 2010 and by $2.5 billion in 2010 alone. Read more.
Ghana’s minister for food and agriculture supports ag biotech for battling hunger
Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister for Food and Agriculture in Ghana, said Africa should use agricultural biotechnology, like GM crops, to battle hunger and malnutrition, while ensuring environmental sustainability during a conference in Accra, All Africa reports.
“Climate change can significantly reverse the little progress that has been made towards poverty reduction and food security unless Ghana increases the application of science and technology, including biotechnology to improve agricultural productivity,” he emphasized.
Ghana’s government is under pressure to allow GM crops that will increase food production to feed the country’s rising population and to address the challenges of increasing water and land scarcity. Read more.
Indian newspaper says GM crop research could improve local crop production
According to Commodity Online, the Indian government should support agricultural research for the development of high-yielding genetically modified (GM) crop varieties.
The article references Argentina’s agricultural success from adopting GM crops. “It was the adoption of genetically modified (GM) soybean seeds, no till planting that helped raised production.” Read more.
NPR: Biotech could boost global food supply and mitigate impact of climate change
NPR’s Science Friday discussed the role of biotechnology in helping to meet the challenges of climate change and improve global food security. Gerald Nelson, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in D.C. said governments should approve genetically modified (GM) crops to increase yields and disease resistance. Read more.
Hunger relief agencies welcome Kenya’s approval of GM maize
Kenya’s Daily Nation announced the country has approved the importation of GM maize after guidelines were released last week.
This is welcome news for hunger relief agencies that have been pushing the government to approve genetically modified foods to help mitigate local starvation. Read more.
India calls for GM crop approval to contribute to a second green revolution
India hopes biotechnology could lead to a second green revolution, India Infoline News Service reports.
Local farmers, scientists and members of the ag biotech industry gathered to call on the Indian Parliament to expedite approval of GM crops. They write: “Plant biotechnology is a powerful tool that helps farmers provide food, feed, fiber, and fuel to a growing global population in a sustainable manner, while reducing agriculture’s footprint on environment.” Read more.
Indian farmer says biotech crops contribute to agricultural productivity
In a Wall Street Journal online forum to debate the impact of GM crops in India, an Indian farmer said GM crops have “undoubtedly” improved agricultural productivity. Vanchinathan Ravichandran grows biotech cotton, which he says occupies 90% of cotton cultivation since the technology was approved in 2002. He urges policy makers to remove bans on other biotech crops: “We need crops with improved traits such as drought tolerance, submergence tolerance, salinity resistance and so on.” He adds, “When Genetically Modified crops can provide answers to these issues, why deprive us of the opportunity to benefit from science and technology?” Read more.
GM crops could help Zimbabwe achieve food security
News Day, a Zimbabwe publication, said the country should be more open to GM technology to help meet the challenge of food security. The article points out Zimbabwean farmers need the technology to produce more crops on less land. “The Western world is flourishing because of GM food. But then why is GM technology shunned in Zimbabwe?” Read more.
Dr. Pamela Ronald discusses benefits of GM crops at New Zealand lecture
Dr. Pamela Ronald, Professor of Plant Pathology at UC-Davis and author of Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food, posted a blog on the benefits of GM crops and the negative impact of regulatory hurdles in New Zealand. Dr. Ronald discussed her lecture at the Royal Society in Wellington, New Zealand, where she made the point that GM crops have “enhanced [the] goals of sustainable agriculture.” Read more.