Agri Business

Honey cultivators oppose GM mustard, to protest at Jantar Mantar

| | Updated on: Sep 26, 2016
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Bee-keepers argue that they have already been adversely hit by Bt cotton

Honey cultivators from across the country have opposed the government’s proposal to introduce genetically modified (GM) mustard in India on the ground that it could adversely impact production and hit lakhs of livelihoods.

They argue that they have already had a bad experience with GM cotton (Bt cotton) with bee-keeping nearly disappearing from the areas where such cotton is grown, and the negative impact in case of GM mustard could be much more.

“About 50-60 per cent of the total production of honey in India is mustard honey. Therefore, mustard is a very important crop for the industry. Any permission to GM mustard will jeopardise this sector,” pointed out Yogeshwar Singh, a member of the Confederation of Bee Keeping Industry, at a press conference on Monday.

Bee-keepers’ associations from states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh as well as honey exporters will hold a protest at Jantar Mantar against the proposed move at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.

The bee-keepers have also appealed to States to intervene immediately and stop approval for its cultivation.

“We urge the government to first investigate the impact of Bt cotton on our enterprise and take stock of the rapid negative changes that have come about,” Singh said.

India’s honey industry has at least 5 lakh bee keeping families and nearly one million livelihoods and enterprises are directly or indirectly dependent on it, according to industry data. About 90,000 tonnes of honey is produced annually in India, of which about 35,000 tonne is exported with an estimated value of Rs 750 crore.

Published on January 24, 2018

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