GM tech is already obsolete: Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign

Suman Sahai, founder, Gene Campaign talks about why the GM technology is outdated

sakshi

Sakshi Kuchroo | November 16, 2016 | New Delhi


#Suman Sahai   #hybrid crop   #modified crop   #farmers   #cotton   #Bt brinjal   #GM Mustard   #Gene Campaign  
Suman Sahai, founder, Gene Campaign

Will the release of GE mustard reduce oilseed imports?

Saying that GE mustard will slash the oil import bill is just baloney. Farmers are not able to make money from the farm. You enable the farmer to make money from mustard or pulses or anything else, and you will have production. Look at the product honestly and evaluate it on the basis if this product is really going to make a positive difference. [Going by] the account of yield that Pental’s group is claiming, there is no yield.
 
According to the safety assessment report, the tests on GE mustard have been done by accredited labs in the country. The why do you doubt them?
Who is getting the tests done? I have friends in NIN [National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad]. They are a huge bunch of corrupt people. Why don’t you set up a board, send the sample – they should not know whose sample it is – and then carry out the tests? Try and remove all areas where corruption or influence has a role to play, or you make the complete data available for public where it is accessible. 
 
Activists argue DMH 11, like BT cotton, will go in the hands of multinationals and bring in their monopoly. Your comments?
That’s the whole other set of drama that is happening about a public sector institution. Monopoly happened at the time of BT cotton. But here the problem is not that. It is about setting up a strict regulatory and safety assessment framework. I am concerned about these NGO communities that go rampaging in protests, with half-truths and overstating the case. They do what exactly the industry does, but there are also very sober and reflective people in society who are working; there are people who are trained as scientists and know what they are talking about. We have to put the system in place before we start introducing GMOs in the market. Now, seed cost might be a problem. In case of BT cotton, the first ever study on its performance was done by our organisation, Gene Campaign. Since it was performing really well, they shot up the prices dramatically.  Any technology which is expensive will add to the farmers’ woes.

Read our story on GM Mustard: GM Mustard is ready. But are we? 
 
Pental says protesters have not done their homework. Your take?
This is the most absurd thing to say. Tomorrow if any common man wants to read and understand and discuss with scientists, they will be equally competent. I and 25 other people are already informed that there is no law on liability or labelling. The unfortunate thing is that we don’t have strong consumer groups in this country. Saying we lack knowledge is brainlessness.
 
How do farmers feel about GM crops?
We did a ‘knowledge attitude and perception study’ on our Gene Campaign website. Firstly, farmers are willing to try everything because they are curious. If you tell them that here is your seed, it will increase your production, the farmer per se has no reason to think you are a liar. That’s why companies dupe farmers. There’s a huge racket going on there. The companies never give bills to the farmers because then they can be traced back. So farmers buy seeds in good faith and thus suffer damage and failures. I think that farmers have to be spoken to honestly, like we as consumers are to be spoken to honestly. A farmer is only concerned with the seed that will give him higher production.
 
Don’t you feel that population growth makes GM crops imperative?
GM technology is already obsolete. There are many other things in the pipeline, for example, marker reading selection. You can select favourable genes by locating markers and you can breed with that. You now have the ‘crisper’ which makes gene editing much more precise. So, the days of genetic modification or engineering are over. One cannot hang on to the tales of the multinationals. We need to see things from the Indian context. Monsanto never had the patent, yet they milked every public and private sector institution, but that’s how they make fool of you.

(The interview appears in November 16-30, 2016 edition of Governance Now)

 

Comments

 

Other News

Just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world

  Among one of the blatant signs of economic inequality, just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world. In a report titled, ‘An economy for the 99%’, Oxfam Intern

India ranks below Bangladesh, Nepal in inclusive development index

India has fared worse than its neighbours: Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China, in an inclusive development index. World Economic Forum’s Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017 said that India, with a score of only 3.38, ranks 60th among the 79 developing economies on the IDI (inclu

Steel policy to boost steel production to 300 million tonnes by 2030-31

Minister of steel Chaudhary Birender Singh chaired a meeting of the parliamentary consultative committee attached to the ministry of steel in New Delhi on initiatives taken by the steel ministry to enhance demand and production of steel in the country and status of completion of projects by the PSUs. 

Manufacturing growth has underpinned India’s economic performance: ILO

Manufacturing growth has underpinned India’s recent economic performance, which may help buffer demand for the region’s commodity exporters, said an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report. The report “World Employment Social Outlook - Trends 2017” said that ec

Demonetisation expected to temporarily dampen India’s oil appetite: Analysts

The dramatic rise in India`s oil demand shows no signs of faltering, leading analysts say that the country will remain a driver of Asian growth in 2017.  Consumption is expected to rise by 7-8% this year, outpacing China`s demand growth for the third consecutive year, said Platts Analytics i

Railway Budget: A new track

This time of the year, the corridors of Rail Bhawan on Delhi’s Raisina Road, would normally have been abuzz with activity as officials would be at work tightening the nuts and bolts of the railway budget. The exercise was so time consuming, officials would have to sometimes go without sleep. The effo

Video

समाजवादी परिवार में सुलह के आसार बढ़े

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter