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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
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.
AppleAndroid