In the wake of harsh criticisms for his recent comments, Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar again reiterated his support for field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops as a possible solution for food security in India. In his address to the ICAR general meeting, Pawar remarked that due to constraints on limited access to natural resources, “[India does] not have any option but to achieve major [breakthroughs] in productivity to ensure food security of 1.2 billion-plus population.”
Genetically Modified crops – with the exception of Bt cotton – have been a controversial subject in India for some time. However, recent actions taken by the Indian Parliament proposing the banning of all GM field tests prompted Pawar to take a stronger position in the matter, arguing that the prospects of future food security in India are dim without them. Pawar wrote to all chief ministers, outlining the possible deployment of an investigative team of scientists in order to determine the efficacy of GM crops in India.
India has been dealing with hunger problems for generations and without any sort of intervention, will be dealing with even worse problems in the future. However, GM crops – despite their understandable concerns – provide a reason to be optimistic based upon their ability to withstand harsh climates and unfavorable soil conditions. Furthermore, by exploring all options on the table, scientists hope to find an answer to the imperative question of food security in India.