Agri Business

GM mustard won’t raise yields, says anti-GM coalition

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018

Developers claim that yield will rise by 20-25% by lowering India’s edible oil imports

The Coalition for GM Free India warned the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), under the Environment Ministry, against the commercialisation of a genetically-modified (GM) mustard strain named DMH-11 (Dhara Mustard Hybrid 11).

The mustard line was developed by the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants, Delhi University, and supported by its Biotechnology Department and the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). The project was headed by Deepak Pental, Director of the Centre.

The coalition released a briefing paper on GM mustard on Wednesday and attempted to remind the GEAC of the concerns in the country when it had commercially approved the Bt Brinjal in 2009-10.

“Delhi University’s GM mustard is a backdoor entry for herbicide-tolerant crops into India, in the guise of a public sector GM crop. An attempt was made for similar GM mustard by an MNC into India in 2002 which the regulators firmly rejected,” said Rajesh Krishnan, Convenor of the Coalition.

Krishnan stated that claims of increased yield over non-GM varieties were misplaced while the genetic modification for male sterility was meant to ease seed production by sellers. “This is nothing but a Trojan horse for many other HT GM crops lined up by MNCs like Monsanto which are in the regulatory pipeline,” he added.

The DMH-11 mustard line has been created by genetically engineering bacterial genes into selected mustard parent lines to create male sterile parent plants. Developers claim that yield will rise by 20-25 per cent which will lower India’s import of edible oil.

“At a time when the entire nation is concerned with laxity in food safety regulation as seen in the Maggi case, it is outrageous that GM food crops are being pushed without adequate safety assessment and transparency,” said Kavitha Kuruganti, Convenor, Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture.

Published on June 18, 2015

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