Bihar on GM Mustard

Mustard crop India

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has decided to take on the genetically modified food lobby head-on by opposing any use of GM Mustard.

Nitish met a delegation of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) on this issue and assured the group of his active intervention.

Promising to take this matter with the prime minister to dissuade him from approving GM mustard, he said, “Bt cotton experience in India has clearly shown that Genetic Modification is a failed technology.”

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar discussing GM mustard with ASHA delegation in Patna.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar discussing GM mustard with ASHA delegation in Patna.

“Then why should this technology be now cleared for mustard, a food crop?” he wondered. “We are promoting organic farming in the state of Bihar and GM cultivation will not be allowed here.”

On the experience and expertise of farmers in Bihar, especially organic farmers, he said, “Our farmers are scientists themselves and have been demonstrating impressive successes in rice, potato, brinjal and mustard crops using natural methods and agro-ecological innovations.”

“There is no need for any technology which has the potential of distorting the natural food system and spoiling the environment,” he said.

Meanwhile, representatives from civil society groups, people’s movements and farmers’ coalitions, who gathered in Patna to deliberate upon the potential threats of genetically modified foods, are chalking to strategies to halt the advancement of GM mustard for commercial release in the country.

ASHA members say the GM mustard application which is in an advanced stage of processing by Government of India regulators is a herbicide tolerant crop, which will increase chemical usage in mustard farming, create adverse health and environmental impacts.

They maintain several committees have already recommended against the entry of such herbicide tolerant crops into India. According to them, GMO is unneeded, unwanted and unsafe, and citizens should register their rejection of the technology by giving a missed call to 04433124242.