Rajasthan is not yet ready to get into the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) mustard and the ultimate choice on the matter will have to be the farmers’, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has said.
“We have to first understand our roots and see where we are coming from. Only then we move on to bigger things. Anyway, the choice is not ours (the government’s). It has to be that of our farmers,” Raje said.
She was replying to a question on GM mustard in a media interaction at the on-going Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) in Jaipur on Thursday.
Many farmer groups in Rajasthan, such as the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliated Bhartiya Kisan Sangh , have taken a strong stand against the Centre’s move to introduce GM mustard cultivation in the country. Some reasons, though, may not be backed by science.
“Mustard oil is not just used for cooking. It is also used for massage. It causes infertility,” said a representative of the women’s wing of the BKS participating in the meet.
Curiously though, despite opposing GM mustard, GM seed company Monsanto was invited to the Agriculture meet in Jaipur.
The three-day meet is jointly organised by the State and industry body FICCI.
Madhya Pradesh, the second largest producer of mustard after Rajasthan, is also against GM mustard creating more trouble for the Centre struggling to allow the commercial cultivation of the variety in the country .
The Technical Expert Committee, appointed under the government’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, has given a go-ahead to GM mustard, but the proposed move is facing political opposition and criticisms from several quarters for not being backed by enough research.
Raje said that her State has to do a lot of groundwork such as researching on the soil that is required and its availability and the availability of adequate water before decisions can be taken.
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