Agri scientists bat for Bt, GM crops

Criticising the unnecessary opposition for crops such as Bt cotton, which give more yield to farmers, agricultural scientist M Mahadevappa said, farmers should come forward to cultivate them.

He was speaking at a workshop on ‘Microorganisms and Human Welfare’, at JSS College of Arts, Commerce and Science, in the city, on Monday.

There has been revolutionary changes in cultivation of cotton due to Bt cotton in the country. India has been able to increase its ranking from fifth to second in cultivation of cotton in a short span of time. The country, which was importing cotton from other countries, has now grown to be one of the leading exporters of the crop. Such changes have been possible only due to Bt cotton and genetic technology, he said.

Speaking on genetically modified (GM) crops, he noted that several groups have opposed cultivation of such crops, but such opposition is an indication of scientific ignorance.
There are several shortcomings and challenges regarding the use of GM crops. Meanwhile, false information about the crops is being spread to mislead the farmers, he said. GM crops are scientifically tested and will not cause any damage to the environment. Therefore, the need of the hour is to raise awareness among elected representatives, environmentalists and farmers about the use of GM crops, he said.

By using GM crops in agriculture, there is every possibility of heralding another green revolution in the country. The crops will considerably reduce the use of pesticides and fertilisers, which would ensure environmental conservation and also food safety, he said.
So, without unnecessary delay the Central government should take a decision on cultivation of GM crops, he added.

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