'Agri regulatory system inadequate in India'

Workshop on Genetically modified food and its consequences

She was addressing the gathering at a workshop on ‘Genetically modified (GM) food and its consequences’ organised by the Nagarika Seva Trust (NST), Guruvayanakere, Dakshina Kannada Parisarasaktara Okkoota, Krishikara Vedike, Karavali Mahila Jagruti Vedike and Dalita Abhivridhi Samiti at Rotary Balabhavana here on Tuesday. “Agriculture is a part of our culture. If we neglect agriculture, we may lose our culture. Farmers in the nation should have freedom to cultivate any produce,” Usha said. Food security in the nation can be assured only through organic farming, she added.

Usha said that the Bio-Technology (BT) Task Force set up under the chairmanship of Prof M S Swaminathan had suggested to preserve all Mega Bio-diversity centres and hotspots including Western Ghats and North-East regions. “Those areas should be declared as organic regions or organic states,” she emphasised.

There should be atleast 300 meters distance between a BT farm and any other farm. However, it is not possible in India as the average land holding per farmer is below 50 cents.

Speaking on the occasion, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch national joint co-ordinator Prof B M Kumaraswamy said that there is no need of BT in India as the agriculture technology practised here is time tested. “The nation has 4 lakh hectares of brinjal farms with more than 100 varieties. But still multi-national companies are trying to gain entry into the Indian market through BT,” he added.

The State government which once declared chemical fertiliser safe is now argue that BT brinjal is a safe food variety. While about 2.5 lakh farmers committed suicide in India in 1995, majority of them were all growers of BT cotton, Kumaraswamy said. BT is being given importance in India, even when European Unions rejected it, he added.

Vitala Shetty, a farmer from Udupi, inaugurated the workshop. NST President K Somanath Nayak, Vice President Vidya Nayak, Krishikara Vedike President K Vasanthi and litterateur Lakshmisha Tholpady were present.

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