NEW DELHI: The agriculture ministry today said it has no reservations about GM mustard, which has been cleared by an expert panel GEAC, and will promote genetically modified (GM) crops if approved by the Environment Ministry.
On May 11, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) had recommended commercial cultivation of a GM mustard variety, developed by Delhi University's Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants, in a submission to the Environment Ministry, which is yet to give the final approval.
"Whatever crops are notified, be it GM or non-GM, if scientists approve it, then our ministry's mandate is to increase production, productivity, bring down cost of production and ensure right price to farmers" Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said, when asked if his ministry will promote GM mustard.
He was speaking at a press conference to mark three years of the NDA government in office and share achievements in the farm sector during this period.
On the sidelines of the event, Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak said: "GEAC has given approval to GM mustard but we will see after the crop is notified."
The process takes time and definitely it will not be available for cultivation this year. This is a crop grown in association with government research body ICAR, he added.
The GEAC had given a 'positive' recommendation to the widely-consumed crop, but with 'certain conditions'. With its green signal, GM Mustard is a step closer to becoming India's first edible GM crop.
The decision had received sharp reactions from anti-GM activists who said such varieties will lead to huge losses for farmers as it would 'monopolise' the seed market.
Currently, Bt cotton is the only GM crop allowed for commercial cultivation. There is moratorium on Bt brinjal.