Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Let biotech crops bloom November 4, 2007

Let’s begin this Sunday morning with a statement of unimpeachable reliability: India has doubled its production of cotton in the past five years. It crossed the United States last year to become the world’s second largest producer and is expected to overtake China in 2009 to become world’s number one. India’s cotton revolution is the subject of constant discussion at global agricultural forums, but in India almost no one has heard of it. Our media talks only about the suicides of cotton farmers. This is because environmental activists have been spreading disinformation and misleading the public.

Norman Borlaug, the Nobel Prize winner, who invented the dwarf varieties of wheat and helped create India’s first green revolution, predicted that science would also drive India’s second green revolution. He is turning out to be right. Biotech (Bt) or transgenic cotton is the miracle seed that resists bollworm—an insect which used to destroy a third to half of our cotton crop each year. By planting Bt cotton farmers have successfully fought the insect and delivered the highest production and exports in India’s history. Production has risen from 158 to 279 lakh bales per year from 2002 to 2006. Net income per farmer has increased by Rs 17,500 per hectare for India’s 23 lakh cotton farmers. From an importer, India has become the third largest exporting nation.

Borlaug wrote in some agony in 2002 that “the approval [of Bt cotton] has been a long, slow, painful process, effectively delayed…by the lobbying of Vandana Shiva and her crowd. Now that the door has been opened for the use of transgenic biotechnology on one crop, I hope it will soon be approved for other crops. As an enthusiastic friend of India, I have been dismayed to see it lagging behind in the approval of transgenic crops while China forges ahead”. His worst fears have come true. Five years have passed since Bt cotton’s approval. Nothing has since been approved. Farmers are anxiously waiting for biotech soya, rice, corn that are flourishing in other countries. Bt mustard was tested to death here and the inventor left India in disgust after 7 years.

The scandal is that government approval takes 18 months in China and 6 years in India. The reason is that transgenic seeds are an invention of private sector science and both government and activists distrust private seed companies. Environmentalists are hostile to these seeds on ideological grounds and delay each trial by taking the government to court. Each time they lose in court (because their case is flimsy) but policy makers and babus get scared and insist on more trials. Ministers are apathetic because there are no photo opportunities for inventions of the private sector. Thus, our second green revolution is delayed. Misguided activists, timid bureaucrats, and apathetic politicians are all conspiring to rob our farmers’ future.

It was bold leadership of C. Subramanium and Lal Bahadur Shastri that created our first green revolution in the 1960s. Had India waited for endless field trials and deliberate delays by environmentalists, it would not have happened. Fortunately, this government has vastly improved its regulatory capability in biotechnology. Now is the time for Manmohan Singh to proudly proclaim our farmers’ achievement in cotton and fast track the approval process for other miracle seeds, especially those tolerant to drought and ideally suited for our rain fed, non-irrigated areas like Vidarbha. He should tell Babus to follow China’s sensible approach and stop reinventing the wheel. Finally, he must also tell off activists (who are called eco-terrorists in some countries) to stop disseminating disinformation and diverting attention from science to suicides.

6 comments:

City Spidey said...

CitySpidey is India's first and definitive platform for hyper local community news, RWA Management Solutions and Account Billing Software for Housing Societies. We also offer residential soceity news of Noida, Dwarka, Indirapuram, Gurgaon and Faridabad. You can place advertisement for your business on city spidey.

Gate Management System
Society Management App
Society Management
rwa Management App
Neighbourhood Management App
Apartment Management App
Apartment Management System
Visitors Management System
Apartment Management Software
Noida News
Gurgaon News
Ghaziabad News
Delhi News
Indirapuram News
Dwarka News

srjwebsolutions said...


We are leading responsive website designing and development company in Noida.
We are offering mobile friendly responsive website designing, website development, e-commerce website, seo service and sem services in Noida.

Responsive Website Designing Company in Noida
Website Designing Company in Noida
SEO Services in Noida
SMO Services in Noida

EG MEDI said...

Egmedi.com is online medical store pharmacy in laxmi nagar Delhi. You can Order prescription/OTC medicines online.
Cash on Delivery available. Free Home Delivery


Online Pharmacy in Delhi
Buy Online medicine in Delhi
Online Pharmacy in laxmi nagar
Buy Online medicine in laxmi nagar
Onine Medical Store in Delhi
Online Medical store in laxmi nagar
Online medicine store in delhi
online medicine store in laxmi nagar
Purchase Medicine Online
Online Pharmacy India
Online Medical Store

indian models91 said...

We are uhe solid first platform for modeling newcomers to achieve there new dreams. The first to train and promote out models at our expense to avoid burden on them. Join the most popular agency if you modelling jobs in Delhi for female freshers, models, students, housewives aiming to start there modeling career. We are top modelling agency in Delhi offering modelling jobs in Delhi for upcoming female freshers or experienced models who want to join lingerie modeling agencies.


modeling agencies in Delhi
modeling agencies
modeling jobs
modeling auditions
model coordinators
modeling jobs in Delhi

ANIL GUPTA said...

We are specialized in Mechanised cleaning of Underground and Overhead Water Tanks of all sizes. Door Step services across Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad.


Water tank cleaning services in Noida
Water tank cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Water tank cleaning services in Delhi

Drain cleaning services in Noida

Drain cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Drain cleaning services in Delhi
Pipeline Cleaning Service in Noida


Pipeline cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Pipeline cleaning services in Delhi


Tank cleaning services in Noida

Tank cleaning services in Ghaziabad
Tank cleaning services in Delhi

Exide Battery said...

Battery Mantra Buy Car and Inverter battery online in India. BatteryMantra is Noida based India's No. 1 online battery store offering you genuine batteries of all the well-known battery brands at best prices.

Online Inverter Battery Store
Online Car Battery Store
Buy Inverter battery Dealer Noida
Buy battery online Noida
Online Inverter Battery Store
Buy car battery Noida