India

Supreme Court told the government that fears about GM crop oil are unfounded

According to the Centre, India is already “importing and consuming oil derived from genetically modified (GM) crops”, and that opposition to such technology is a cause of harm to farmers, consumers, and industry.

It was stated in an affidavit filed by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change that mustard is one of India’s most important oil and seed meal crops, grown on approximately 8-9 million hectares of land.

Even though the rate of seed replacement (farmers buying fresh seed) has increased to 63%, and the area under irrigation has increased to 83% of the total mustard area, yields remain stagnant despite all these investments.

According to the report, the current rate of edible oil consumption in India exceeds the domestic production rate. According to the government, India imports approximately 55% to 60% of its edible oil demand.

According to the report, the country has already imported and consumed large quantities of edible GM oil seeds. “Cotton grown in India is a GM crop, and we produce approximately 9.5 million tons of cotton seed and 1.2 million tons of cotton oil for human consumption, and approximately 6.5 million tons for animal consumption,” it stated.

The ministry pointed out that India imports about 55,000 metric tonnes of canola oil, primarily from GM canola seeds, and approximately 2.8 lakh tonnes of soybean oil, mostly made from GM soybean seeds. As India imports and consumes oil derived from GM crops, opposition to such technology ‘based on unfounded fears of adverse effects’ only harms farmers, consumers, and industry, the affidavit stated.

According to the government, the average price of refined palm oil, soy oil, and mustard oil is increasing continuously, indicating┬áthat India must become independent in its oil production to meet its domestic consumption needs. Increasing the price of edible oil will also cause inflation … the government suggested that agricultural reforms such as planting GM oilseed crops such as mustard would be beneficial.

According to the report, the DMJ 11 hybrid GM mustard variety has shown an increase in yield per hectare of 25% to 30% over the traditional type, thus reducing India’s dependence on other countries and achieving its goal of self-reliance. As a result of the government’s submission, it is imperative to strengthen plant breeding programs, including genetic technology, to meet emerging challenges in Indian agriculture and ensure food safety.

According to the ministry, “the conditional approval for the environmental release of transgenic mustard hybrid DMH 11 and parental lines…containing Bar, Barnase, and Barstar genes has been granted after following the detailed procedure stipulated in law… as well as considering the biosafety data accumulated over several years”.

It stated that these genes have been safely present in the food chain for more than 20 years.

It was explained by the government that, before granting permission, all the stipulated biosafety tests had been conducted on the GM mustard hybrid DMH-11 and its two parental lines and that it had been cleared subject to strict terms and conditions to ensure environmental safety.

According to the affidavit, this will also enable researchers to gather data about the impact of GM mustard on honey bees and other pollinators. According to the affidavit, commercial cultivation of genetically modified rapseeds and canola hybrids is permitted in Canada, where the number of honey bee colonies increased from 473 thousand in 1974 to 773 thousand in 2018, and the cultivation area of GE canola increased from 3.16 million acres in 1974 to 21.49 million acres in 2018.

According to the article, these “statistics indicate that GE Canola may not negatively affect the population of bees”.

Nisha

Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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