India paying heavily by delaying GM crops: Scientist

Written by Shishir Behera | Shishir Behera | Hyderabad | Updated: Jun 29 2011, 06:53am hrs
India is paying a heavy price by delaying the introduction of bioengineering crops, says an eminent agriculture scientist. India, a pioneer among developing countries in agricultural practices, is paying a high cost by not going in for bioengineering crops in a big way, said Clive James, founder and chair of International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Application (ISAAA), at a seminar on Demystifying Crop Biotechnology: Issues and Concepts' here on Monday.

The world population is expected to rise to over 9 billion by 2050. Therefore, we require to double the food production to support this huge number, James warned.

Indian farmers have already tasted the success from commercial cultivation of Bt cotton...why can't these farmers be given opportunities to reap rich benefits by growing other Bt crops, James noted.

There is an urgent need to increase food production by 100% so that 9.2 billion mouths could be fed in 2050, said William D Dar, director general of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (Icrisat).

Transgenics might hold the key to an increased food production and reduced production costs in dryland tropics in Asia and Africa, hence in India, where the eastern region looking all set to usher in the second green revolution, GM crop can be useful to make the dream a reality, Dar said.

Travel for this report was sponsored by Icrisat