Summary of the Article on GM Crops in India
The article discusses the increasing need for genetically modified (GM) crops to meet global food and nutritional security, particularly in the face of climate change. It provides a detailed analysis of the role of GM crops in augmenting agricultural productivity and the recent decision by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to approve GM mustard in India.
The Necessity of GM Crops
Global Food Security and Zero Hunger: With the climate undergoing rapid changes, achieving global food and nutritional security has become a significant challenge. The 2019 Food Security and Nutrition Report suggests that achieving 'Zero Hunger' by 2030 is doubtful.
Example: The Green Revolution increased food production from 50 million tonnes in 195051 to over 300 million tonnes in 202021. But climate change now requires further innovation like GM crops.
Increasing Adoption of GM Crops
Statistics and Benefits: According to ISAAA 2020, 72 countries have adopted GM crops, benefiting over 1.95 billion people globally. Economic gains amount to $224.9 billion from 19962018.
Example: Bt cotton was the first GM crop in India and has provided economic advantages to farmers and the country at large.
Focus on Mustard in India
Edible Oil Deficit: India imports 60% of its edible oil requirements, making mustard a critical crop. Research at the University of Delhi has led to the creation of a GM mustard hybrid, DMH11, aiming to increase yield and oil production.
Example: DMH11 is based on the barnase/barstar system, which works by removing male fertility in one parent and restoring it in the offspring, thereby increasing yield.
Landmark Decision by GEAC
Approval for Cultivation: On October 25, 2022, GEAC approved the release of DMH11 for cultivation. This is expected to widen the narrow genetic base of mustard varieties in India and help in achieving selfreliance in edible oil production.
Example: The decision could potentially reduce India's edible oil import burden, which was around ₹1.17 lakh crore.
Implications for Selfreliance
Economic and Environmental Benefits: This approval will boost genetic engineering research in India, enable the generation of new crop varieties, and increase farmers' incomes.
Example: Domestic consumption of edible oils in India is about 25 million tonnes, whereas the domestic production was approximately 8.5 million tonnes in 202021. The approval of DMH11 could help bridge this gap.
The article highlights the critical role that GM crops, particularly GM mustard, could play in enhancing India’s agricultural productivity and achieving food security. The recent approval by GEAC marks a new era in selfreliance and sustainability in agriculture.