Flourishing trade in spurious GM seeds adds to farmers’ woes

When Arvind Shinde (name altered), a farmer from Aurangabad bought a bag of HT cotton seeds from a trader, he was positive of having a bumper crop. Having said that, as seeds failed to germinate he realised that he was duped by the trader. But he could not register a law enforcement criticism or tactic the State authorities for payment.

Bt cotton is the only Genetically Modified crop authorized for commercial cultivation in India and, for that reason, cultivation of other unapproved GM crops is banned.

But Shinde continue to wishes to go ahead with HT cotton and Bt brinjal cultivation. “HT seeds will give bumper crop and will assistance me to make some income,” he states confidently. But it is not just Shinde, 1000’s of farmers are having GM seeds in the market place and several get duped.

Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkari Sanghatana, the apex farmers’ overall body Maharashtra, alleges“Along with HT cotton, Bt brinjal, and now HT soya seeds are also in the black market place. The authorities has banned GM crops but GM seeds are readily available in the market place and farmers are cultivating. About 25 for every cent of Maharashtra’s cotton cultivation under HT cotton. There is a multi-crore market place that is working in GM seeds and several organizations are by providing spurious GM seeds.”

Ghanwat extra, “ The only option to help save farmers from bogus seed organizations is to permit the cultivation of GM crop”.

Final yr the Union Ministry of Agriculture admitted in the Lok Sabha that couple of incidences of suspected open up cultivation of Bt brinjal and HT cotton were being described in Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. The committee appointed by the Office of Biotechnology to examine the generation of Bt cotton seeds with unapproved genes discovered unapproved cotton was developed, on an regular, on 15 for every cent of the cotton-cultivable spot in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana, and 5 for every cent in Punjab all through the 2017-eighteen time.

Farmers allege a nexus of authorities officials, seed organizations, traders and middlemen working in Gujarat, Telangana and Maharashtra which is enabling promote of banned GM seeds.

“The Countrywide Seed Affiliation of India (NSAI) stands with India’s legal guidelines and not GM vigilantism. The illegal spread of HT BT seeds is a malicious attempt to undermine our sovereignty and contaminate lawful cotton seed organizations. We stand for new engineering, but not as a result of illegal means” reported Indra Shekhar Singh, Director – Policy and Outreach, NSAI.

He extra, “ Our member organizations have been the worst strike by this contamination, as fly-by-night time operators are sporadically planting HT seeds in their breeding fielding and hence making them liable for prison prosecution We have currently found scenarios in Maharashtra, Telengana, etc”. NSAI has appealed to the authorities again to get stringent steps towards these inspired agents, and also established a new parameter for seed lot contamination. NSAI extra that Indian seeds organizations are the victims and not the culprits.