Mayee favours commercial use of bio-technology and GM Crops

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Bhubaneswar, Aug 24 (UNI) Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board Chairman C D Mayee today strongly favoured the commercial use of biotech and GM crops to enhance food productivity to tide over the food shortage.

Dr Mayee said for the second time after the 60s the country was facing the crisis of food security despite a rise in production.

There was a shortage of food all over the world.

The food stock in view of the global shortage might not last long and said the commercial use of newer sciences such as biotechnology, nano technology and GM crops to enhance production.

Dr Mayee was addressing a function organised to celebrate the 47th foundation day of the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology here.

He said the fear of the farmers to adopt the GM crop was not based on scientific explanation and it was only a fear of the unknown.

Some NGOs were only making a false propaganda against the GM crop, he said. Dr Mayee denied the allegation that the GM crop would dilute the indigenous germ plasma or its consumption would adversely affect peoples health.

Dr Mayee said GM crop was being consumed in western countries but no report of health hazard was reported from anywhere till now.

He also dismissed the allegation that the multinational companies would have a monopoly over the seed supply saying after the introduction of BT cotton as many as 35 companies in India were now dealing in BT cotton seeds.

Dr Mayee said the scientific testing of BT brinjal and tomotato was going on in the country and it would be allowed to be cultivated only after the scientists cleared it.

He said the method used for achieving first green revolution- Research Education and Technology transfer--to enhance productivity might not be appropriate now due to degradation of natural resources such as land water, biodiveristy and environment which needed to be simultaneosly addressed for sustainable and profitable growth of agriculture.

He appealed to the State Agriculture Universities to reform the present system to meet the growing challenges of agriculture. The system should promote group effort instead of individual effort, he said.

Dr Mayee said the research system of the unversities should redefine their priorities and strategies and should focus on policy generation along with technology generation.

Addressing the function Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said his government had had planned to increase the seed replacement rate to 25 per cent and use of fertiliser to 80 kg per hectare during the current plan period.

The government he said had also initiated steps to develop agriculture infrastructure, seed sales centres, soil testing centres, vermi culture units, agriculture information centre, market yard, seed storage and agri clinic in rural areas to promote agriculture.

Speaking on the occasion, Agriculture Minister Surendranath Naik said efforts were on to provide low cost equipment to small and medium farmers to enhance their production and make high profit.

Mr Naik appealed to the agriculture scientists to evolve ways so as how to harvest the rain water, check soil erosion and produce good quality seed for better yield.

He also wanted the acquaculturists to find ways so as to meet the fish requirement of the state. He said though the state was self sufficient in milk products it imports major quantity of fish from the neighbouring states to meet its requirement.

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