New Delhi: Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Monday said that agriculture scientists should be allowed to conduct field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops by adopting strict safety measures.
    
In August, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, headed by Basudeb Acharia, had recommended the Government to stop all open-field trials of transgenic crops until it develops a better system of monitoring and oversight.
    
"I am of the considered opinion that the distinction for-GM and anti-GM is unnecessary. We should not analyze the scientific issues on non-scientific parameters.
    
"Let the science tell us what is good and what is not. And for that we must allow our scientists to conduct the trials by observing strictest possible safety measures," Pawar said at a conference.
    
Stating that biotechnological tools possess enough potential to transform agriculture and agro-based industry, he said the country need to ally fear of relevance and safety of such technology.
    
"With the sound regulatory and testing systems, India needs to take giant steps to alley the fear of few on relevance and safety of such technologies," Pawar said.
    
The minister hoped that scientists will get full freedom for their research to ensure higher and sustainable crop productivity, better environment and remunerative agriculture.
    
"It is projected that by 2030 India will require a minimum of 304 million tonnes of foodgrains, 175 million tonnes of vegetables, 96 million tonnes of fruits, 170 million tonnes of milk and 21 million tonnes of meat, eggs and fish.
     
"The proposed food security Act would increase the demand of foodgrains significantly. We need to gear up to expand the supply side. We have to enshrine the country's food security on domestic production and not on imports," he observed.
    
Pawar said the future growth in agriculture has to come from acceleration in the rate of technological change and sustainable intensification of production systems.
    
"Modern science such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, remote sensing offer opportunities to enhance genetic potential of crops, improve input-use efficiency, reduce production and transaction costs and improve sustainable use of natural resources," he added.

(Agencies)

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