Indian agriculture needs to move towards GM food crops, in order to ensure the food security of the country. Critically examine in context of concerns raised towards introduction of GM crops.
Recently, Genetically Modified food crops drew attention, as Indian-origin food shipments in European Union were found to violate GM content percentage.
Genetically modified food crops are those in which modifications are introduced in their genes to enhance certain qualities like shelf-life, pest resistance, yield, etc. E.g. BT cotton for increased pest resistance.
GM crop for food security:
- Enhanced crop yield.
- Enhanced resistance to pests and diseases, e.g. BT Cotton has resistance against bollworm.
- Enhanced nutritional value, e.g. Golden rice.
- Enhanced resistance to climate change, e.g. GM mustard
- Resistance to pollutants in environment, e.g. Muktoshri Rice has resistance against Arsenic in water.
Despite above benefits, they are cause for concern as well:
- Environmental – Lack of sufficient knowledge about effects on other crops, effects on ecosystems, water bodies, etc.
- Health – Effects on human health not known.
- Economic – Concerns around terminator seeds and their cost efficacy for farmers. Also, there is an alleged higher seed replacement ratio.
- Sustainability – May increase antibiotic resistance in the environment.
There is a need to set up a dedicated committee for greater research on effects of GM crops in environment before their introduction.