Rajasthan, the country's top Mustard producing state today said ‘ No & Never’ to Genetically Modified (GM) Mustard , even if the Centre clears it. Rajasthan government has taken a tough stand on the basis of several realistic reasons.
Talking to Rural & Marketing on the sidelines of a press meet in New Delhi, Rajasthan Agriculture Minister Prabhu Lal Saini said, “ Agriculture is a state subject and we know what is good for us. We are top producer of Mustard with 42 lakh matric tonnes( MT) with high oil content through traditional methods.”
“There is no need for us to go for GM Mustard as we are sowing it with traditional seeds on nearly 46 lakh hectare and getting good quality yield of 42 lakh MT with high oil content. That is why Rajasthan government says ‘No and Never’ to GM Mustard.”
He said, “ Our ‘No & Never’ comes because of ongoing international and national debate about safety standards and impact of GM on human, animal and environment. If a broad consensus is made and safety standards are in place, states, which wish to switch over to GM, can go for it.”
“Agriculture is a state subject. States are free to choose but Rajasthan would not go for GM Mustard as our farmers are already excelling in this,” the Minister argued.
Due to high risk associated with pollination, Rajasthan had rejected the proposals of open field trials of GM Mustard in three districts- Bharatpur, Alwar and Hanumangarh.
“We had rejected the proposals as we did not want to take any risk associated with pollination and we were not certain about other risks on human and environment. If GM mustard grantees high yield then we are already enjoying that with our traditional methods,” said Saini.
Rajasthan government encourages traditional and organic farming. NITI Aayog has ranked the state third place in terms of agriculture reforms. Rajasthan excels in 12 crops including some spices and cereals. Organic farming is being done in 60,000 hectares in the state.
Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11) or GM Mustard was developed by Delhi University's Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants. It is currently being under consideration by the Centre for commercial cultivation approval. The hybrid's research was headed by Dr.Deepak Pental, ex-vice-chancellor of Delhi University and director of the Centre for Genetic Manipulation. Pental has claimed that GM Mustard will increased yield by 20-25 per cent and reduce India's import dependency for edible oil.