Boost GM crops to meet food security demand: Sharad Pawar

Sharad pawarSharad Pawar has called for easing the environment for conducting field trials for genetically modified (GM) crops. (PTI)

Ahead of the debate on the Food Security Bill in parliament, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said Saturday that while he supports the Bill, he has concerns about keeping up with rising demand unless drastic steps, including approval to more genetically modified crops, are taken simultaneously to boost agricultural production.

Related: Don't stop GM crops because of wrong fears, says Pawar

In a detailed interview to The Indian Express, Pawar said his biggest concern was that incentives to the farmer may be cut to meet the subsidy burden arising from this Bill, which, in turn, could set off a negative spiral, forcing India to import large amounts from abroad.

Related: Experts slam SC panel's report on GM crops

"My worry is not today or tomorrow, but when it (Food Security Bill) will be in full swing... By next year, the subsidy bill will go up to Rs 1,25,000 crore. My worry is that any finance minister or finance secretary will not be happy with this burden and their advice to the council of ministers will be that don't hike the minimum support price... That will directly affect farmers. And if the farmer gets hurt, he will shift from crop A to B. So, if he shifts from wheat and rice to some other crop, then how are we going to implement food security?"

Related: 'US firms to blame for opposition to GM crops'

The country, Pawar added, will have no choice but to import, which will send international prices soaring because India will have a high demand. "So for that purpose, we have no choice but to produce more. For that, we have to provide money for irrigation, electricity, concentrate in a big way on the research for development of new type of seeds. We have to see fertiliser is available.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.