Nearly 11 years after the Union government enforced an indefinite moratorium on the field trials of the Bt brinjal — the first genetically modified crop for mass production in India— farmers and activists from Karnataka have now opposed the proposal for confined field trials on BT cotton and BT maize. According to the activists, the proposal raises several questions as the objections are invited by the environment department instead of the agriculture and horticulture departments which are the real stakeholders of the farming activities in the state.
According to a notification issued by the forest, ecology, and environment department, comments and objections have been invited to issue NOC for conducting confined field trials of BT cotton and BT maize.
Krishnaprasad, director of Mysuru-based Sahaja Samrudha, which promotes organic farming, warned that if BT cotton or Bt maize are allowed, it will have a devastating impact on the desi seeds, crop diversity, and public health at large. When contacted BC Patil, the state agriculture minister said he is not aware of any such proposal. K Ramakrishnappa, former director of the state horticulture department said he is surprised by the entire process.
Badagalapura Nagendra, president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha said the organization will not allow the field trial to happen in the state. When we have rich biodiversity, native seeds, and varieties, I don’t understand the logic behind allowing these kinds of trials,” he said. Earlier, the Union and state governments imposed a moratorium on such trials citing public health and other reasons. We will oppose this proposal jointly with all the like-minded organizations,” he said.