Crop Biotech Update

India's Minister of Agriculture Backs GM Crops for Food Security

February 19, 2010

India's Union Minister of Agriculture Sharad Pawar has urged agricultural scientists to come together and increase their efforts to remove all misinformation regarding GM crops from the minds of policy makers and public. "The recent decision on Bt brinjal should not be seen as a setback to our efforts, but a challenge which we need to surmount," said Mr. Pawar while inaugurating the two-day conference of Vice Chancellors of Agricultural Universities and meeting of Directors of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research on February 17 at New Delhi.

Mr. Pawar emphasized that the use of GM crops was essential to address food security in the country. Underscoring the importance of the new technology he stated, "Conventional technologies of agriculture are inadequate to meet the formidable challenges. The most compelling case for biotechnology and more specifically transgenic crops is their capability to increase crop productivity, lower production costs, conserving bio-diversity, efficient use of external inputs, and improvement of economic and social benefits and alleviation of abject poverty in poor and developing countries." He said that the expanding population of India makes food security the most important issue - this challenge calls for harnessing powerful tools of molecular biology and biotechnology in agriculture.

For more details visit http://www.pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=57918 and http://www.icar.org.in/node/1065 For more information about biotech development in India contact b.choudhary@cgiar.org and k.gaur@cgiar.org