News / Asia

India Refuses Permission for First Genetically Modified Food Crop

TEXT SIZE - +

India has refused to allow commercial cultivation of its first genetically modified food crop citing lack of sufficient evidence about its safety.  The decision was announced following a heated controversy over what would have been the world's first genetically modified vegetable.  

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said Tuesday that the government is not going ahead with the cultivation of the genetically modified eggplant because there is no clear consensus on whether it is safe for human consumption.

He says the government will wait for more scientific studies of the genetically modified eggplant, known as BT brinjal in India.

"When there is so much opposition from state governments, when responsible civil society organizations and eminent scientists have raised many serious questions that have not been answered satisfactorily, when the public sentiment is negative, and when BT brinjal will be the very first genetically modified vegetable to be introduced anywhere in the world and when there is no overriding urgency to introduce it here, it is my duty to adopt a cautious, precautionary principle-based approach, and impose a moratorium on the release of BT brinjal," said Miknister Ramesh.  

The eggplant is called brinjal in India and is a popular vegetable. But it is prone to attack by a pest which reduces yields.

The genetically modified brinjal has undergone field trials since 2008, and was approved last year by India's genetic engineering approval committee.

But an outcry by environmentalists, left wing politicians and several state governments over its approval led the minister to hold a series of public meetings in recent weeks.

Minister Ramesh says the moratorium on BT brinjal will be in place until tests are carried out to everyone's satisfaction. "This has been a difficult decision to take because I had to balance many interests. I had to balance science and society, I had to balance producer and consumer," he said.

Supporters of the genetically modified brinjal say it can boost yields by up to 50 percent and reduce dependence on pesticides. But detractors worry that it could pose a health hazard. They are also concerned that the hybrid brinjal would open the door for other genetically modified food crops.    

Advocates of genetically modified crops say they can boost food supplies substantially, but opponents say they can be a hazard for the environment and health.

The genetically modified eggplant was to be marketed by Mahyco, an Indian partner of the American company Monsanto.

India allowed the cultivation of genetically modified seeds for cotton in 2002.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid