Biosafety should accompany progress in biotech: Swaminathan

Biosafety should accompany progress in biotech: Swaminathan

Biosafety should accompany progress in biotech: Swaminathan

Prof M S Swaminathan, eminent agriculture scientist and chairperson of the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, has called for biosafety along with promotion of biotechnology in the country.

Biotechnology is often looked at with scepticism, but emphasis must be given on biotechnology with biosafety, in order to give a boost to agriculture in India, he said.

Delivering the 48th convocation address of the University of Agriculture Sciences, Bangalore, on Sunday, he stressed the need for a Biosafety Regulatory Authority, which would complement the proposed Biotechnology Regulatory Authority for the country.

“There are too many varieties in genetically modified crops. There have to be all-India co-ordinated trials for genetically modified crops,” he said.

With regard to the Food Security Bill, he observed that food security must also include nutrition security.

“In spite of producing 270 million tonnes of foodgrain and 140 million tonnes of milk, there is malnutrition and low birth weight babies. Hence, there must be nutrition security.

There is protein hunger and hidden hunger in the country. Drinking water too is part of food security,” he said.

Also, to revive age-old wisdom, he called for an International Year for Under Utilised and Bio Fortified Crops.

Speaking about the overall development of the agriculture sector in India, he opined that emphasis should be on both non-farm employment opportunities and small farmer opportunities.

Scientific skills, political will and farmers’ toil are needed with a synergy of technology and public policy, to push agriculture to a new level. Attracting youth to farming is also important, he said. In this direction, he called for an impetus to agriculture engineering for technology upgradation.

DH News Service