NEW DELHI, FEB 19: Food rights organisations, under the aegis of the Right to Food Campaign (RFC), have written to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar urging him to tackle food security in more ‘fundamental ways’ rather than link it with genetically modified (GM) crops.
At a press conference here on Tuesday, RFC released the letter signed by hundreds of organisations, including National Advisory Council member Aruna Roy, which flayed the Agriculture Ministry’s stance in an affidavit to the Supreme Court calling it a “trivialisation and mockery of the grave situation of hunger and malnutrition that exists in India”.
“In this affidavit, your Ministry argued that GM crops and their field trials were needed for India’s food security, in addition to wilfully choosing to misinterpret the sound recommendations of the Technical Expert Committee set up by the Supreme Court,” says the letter.
Maintaining that food security was not “a simplistic supply-related matter, as our paradox of overflowing godowns, record buffer stocks and the hungry millions showcases”, the letter said it was unfortunate that while the discourse around food security and hunger had become more nuanced the world over, the Indian Government chooses to be “unscientific” in its outlook.
It urged the Agriculture Ministry not to “come in the way of much-needed improvements in the transgenics scene in India,” reminding it of the recommendations made by the Technical Expert Committee.
The letter said it did not make sense that the Agriculture Ministry, instead of focusing on strengthening local food production and distribution, was diverting valuable investments towards “controversial, unproven techno-fixes.”