Farmers from 16 states urge PM Modi to commercialize GM Mustard

In a petition, the Rashtriya Progressive Kisan Association has sought PMO’s intervention to address the doubts of state government’s apprehensions on GM Mustard. It has also equested all stakeholders to focus on farmer benefits and not politicize the issue

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New Delhi: A consortium of 7 leading national farmer organizations under the aegis of the Rashtriya Progressive Kisan Association (RPKA) has submitted a petition to Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, requesting the commercialization of GM Mustard. RPKA collectively represents over 80 million farmers across 16 Indian states including Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Gujarat, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. The consortium favours the quick rollout of GM Mustard for farmers in India’s arid and semi-arid regions and is also requesting stakeholders to stop politicizing the commercialization of GM Mustard, currently under review with the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).

RPKA had earlier collected over one lakh thirty-eight thousand signed farmer petitions from across India’s key agricultural states and submitted this to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment in support of GM Mustard.

Talking about the economic benefits of GM Mustard Hari Singh Yadav, CEO of Rashtriya Progressive Kisan Association said, “The on-going polarization around GM Mustard is unfortunate as it not only hurts the farm economy, impedes India’s agriculture self-reliance but also takes away the Indian farmer’s right to choose technologies best suited to him. Farm technologies like any other should be allowed to be affected by regular market forces which will determine their success or failure. Our entreaty to the government is to let the technology speak for itself and to go ahead with its commercialization as soon as the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee gives it a go-ahead with regards to its bio-safety.”

Through this petition India’s farmer are demanding that the government give them the right to choose the best technology for their farms. Globally and in India, GM technology successfully co- exists with conventional hybrids as well as organic farming methods. On behalf of India’s farmers, RPKA also requests the PMO to ask the state governments to explain on what basis are they politicizing GM Mustard and calling it ‘unsafe.’ The PMO should request the concerned ministries to appoint a committee to address the specific concerns of these state governments.

Sardar B.S Mann Ex- M.P Rajya Sabha and Chairman, All India Kisan Coordination Committee further added “We the farmers and farmer’s national organization, are open to all new technologies that will benefit the farming community. We support latest technology including GM Mustard, and believe that farmers should not be denied their right to access latest technology in farming.”

The Rashtriya Progressive Kisan Samiti says it is committed to giving farmers a choice in relation to choosing agri technologies best suited to them and comprises of the progressive and pro-technology farmer organizations such as Sir Choudhary Choturam Bhartiya Kisan Samiti (BKS), Consortium of Indian Farmers Association, Kisan Coordination Committee, Shetkari Sanghatana Trust, United Farmers Empowerment Initiative (UFEI) and Confederation of NGOs of Rural India (CNRI).