New Delhi: India should accept that genetically modified (GM) seeds is the solution to feed the growing population and reduce the pressure on land, a top government official said.
“If we like it or not, transgenics are the order of the day,” Indian Council of Agricultural Research director general Mangala Rai said at a conference on agricultural biotechnology organised by industry chamber FICCI.
He pointed that India will have a population of more than five billion by 2050 and the pressure on land would increase by 4-6 times. Rai said due to adoption of GM crops “resistance has increased, pesticides consumption has reduced and productivity has increased”.
He added when other seeds can produce one kilo rice by utilising 3,000 litres of water, why should there be opposition, if GM seed can have a better yield with less water. Rai also said when oilseeds like castor have improved yield because of use of transgenic seeds, there should not be any resistance against it.
In Gujarat, castor seeds productivity is estimated at 17 quintal per hectare against all India average of four quintal, Rai said. FICCI Biotech Committee chairman Krishna M Ella said India would be the hub for world seed production in the next few years. Agri-biotech is growing at 15% per annum, he added.