Even US, Canada do not allow GM wheat, say experts

Stress on increasing wheat yield and export potential

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | September 1, 2014



Wheat is one of the crops that have been given a go-ahead for genetically modified (GM) crop field trials in India. But, experts say as far as wheat is concerned there is no need for GM as of now.

“Instead of going for GM we need to increase its yield. Once we increase the yield, we can earn a good amount of foreign exchange as we have location advantage. Why do we have to think of GM as of now?” said Hitesh chandak, president, Roller Flour Millers Federation of India, addressing the media prior to commencement of a two-day international wheat seminar to be held in Chennai from Tuesday.

NL Mehta, senior vice-president, All India Bread Manufacturers’ Association said, “Even in Canada and the US they are not working on GM as far as wheat is concerned. Wheat is a sensitive subject. Its yield in India is low as compared to China.”

“There is a strong need to improve the yield,” he added.

Further, India is unable to export much in the world market. In 2013, 7 million tonnes of wheat was exported. However, in 2014, there hasn't been any export of wheat so far. Reasons include, prices, particular quality of wheat not being available at some places, etc."

At present, it is practically impossible to export Indian wheat. The need of the hour is that the wheat system should look into export of wheat and wheat products as well, he added.

KSK Kannan, chairman, IWS local organising committee, highlighted taxation issue in Tamil Nadu. In the state, there is no taxation on wheat but there is 5 per cent tax on wheat products and only specific products are not taxed. “We want the government to remove tax from wheat products as most of the neighbouring states, such as Puducherry, Karnataka and Kerala, have no tax on it,” he said. 

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