Global scientists call on Indian agriculture minister to release Bt Brinjal for Indian farmers sign now

17th February 2010
Shri. Sharad Pawar
Honorable Minister of Agriculture
Government of India
Krishi Bhavan
New Delhi

Dear Shri Sharad Pawar Ji:

We, the undersigned scientists from India and around the world, urge you to please explore ways to reverse the Ministry of Environments recent anti-science decision to place a moratorium on the commercialization of Bt brinjal in India. We agree with you that biotechnology offers much promise in enhancing Indian agriculture and its food security, and that the commercialization of Bt brinjal can play a constructive role in advancing those goals.

Genetically modified (GM) crops are now planted on more than 125 million hectares in India and 24 other countries. They have been shown to increase crop yields, reduce the use of agrochemicals on the farm, and improve the safety and nutritive quality of our foods. Bt brinjal was developed by Indian scientists in India and with a goal to help Indian farmers. As you have clearly pointed out recently, Bt brinjal has been tested thoroughly by Indian scientists and declared safe by India's own regulatory body. The decision to stop the commercialization of Bt brinjal is thus a major blow to Indian science and agriculture, and it seriously curtails the technological choices for Indian plant breeders and farmers in their quest to boost agricultural productivity.

The Ministry of Environments decision also has troublesome ramifications beyond Bt brinjal. It has sent a powerful message to the world that Indias decisions on matters of science and technology will not be made on the basis of science and biosafety, but on the decibel strengths of ideologically motivated, anti-science activists. In addition, many other developing countries look for guidance from Indias policy decisions on key development issues, so the decision to halt the commercialization of Bt brinjal has much broader implications beyond Indias borders. Reversing the current moratorium on Bt brinjal would send a very strong encouraging signal to the Indian scientific and agribusiness community that key regulatory decisions involving biosafety would be based on sound scientific judgment. It would also send a message to the world that Indian Government is willing and able to make reasoned decisions on matters of science and technology.

A review of the scientific briefs received by the Minister of Environment shows that the Indian scientific community overwhelming supported the approval of Bt brinjal. Yet, this unfortunate decision was made at the insistence of a small group of senior officials, who have not given any proper scientific reasoning to stop Bt brinjals deployment. It further appears that the moratorium will be in force for an indefinite period of time, with no scientific end-point that may trigger the products eventual release. The Minister of Environment appears to see no urgency in delivering the fruits of modern biotechnology to poor Indian farmers who deserve and need the best possible quality seeds to improve their productivity.

Leading countries of the world including India along with the USA, Canada, China, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa have all approved GM crops for commercial cultivation. GM food has been consumed by hundreds of millions of people for 15 years now without any harm to human health or the environment. The technology behind GM crops is nearly three decades old, and it has been critically appraised for its safety and environmental impacts by dozens of scientific bodies all around the world.

We humbly suggest that you please consult the leading scientific academies of India to ascertain the prevailing scientific opinion regarding GM crop technology generally, or Bt brinjal in particular. Permitting Indian farmers to grow this variety would contribute tremendously to a reduction in the use of pesticides, therefore improving the health of farm workers and enhancing the quality of food consumed by Indians. This would also represent a considerable forward step towards ensuring the development of Indian science and agriculture. We urge you to intervene and explore how Indian government can reverse this decision. We look forward to your leadership in promoting Indias agricultural progress and in contributing to greater and more sustainable food security.

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Latest Signatures

  • 01 January 2016540. Bharat C
    I support this petition
  • 22 December 2015539. Steven Hs
    Distinguished Professor
  • 19 December 2015538. P Pb
    The multiple contributions of biotech crops have enormous potentail with sustainable development
  • 19 December 2015537. Selvapandiyan A
    I support this petition
  • 19 December 2015536. Dr P
    Since, the DBT has already cleared the product for human consumption. There is no point to delay for further. It should be released as early as possible in the market.
  • 16 December 2015535. Yogendra N
    I support this petition
  • 15 December 2015534. Vijay C
    I support this petition
  • 14 December 2015533. Kalpesh Dp
    Need to be give Permission for the same for betterment of farmer community
  • 02 December 2015532. Dr Pankajkumars
    I support this petition
  • 29 November 2015531. Dssharma Mullen
    Release of Bt.Brinjal for production commerces, I Strongly Support to New techonolgy of Bt.Brinjal is safe fr Indian farmer & envoirment.
  • 29 November 2015530. Sonia K
    I support this petition
  • 27 November 2015529. Pankaj Rn
    I support this petition
  • 26 November 2015528. Ram Gopals
    I support this petition
  • 21 November 2015527. Sushma M
    I support this petition
  • 15 November 2015526. Pravin Va
    There is no ulternative for in brinjal for fulfilling the food for indian population.therefore the need of this technology is most essential in india.
  • 11 November 2015525. Vojoshi Mata
    Bt brinjal helpful to improvement of Indinan farmers of livinfg status
  • 09 November 2015524. Sudarsana P
    I support this petition
  • 06 November 2015523. Dr Arunb
    Bt Brinjal Should be given clearance for use by Indian Farmers
  • 04 November 2015522. Jaydeo A
    Need to be give Permission for the same for betterment of farmer community
  • 03 November 2015521. Suyog T
    I support this petition
  • 03 November 2015520. Chaitanya T
    Our government always tried to import the scintist towards india so India got maximum benefits while we are go ahead , It found that many of opposer are arrise, but in BT it seem they are always want opposin I personnely argued on this rgards, but there i
  • 16 October 2015519. Subhash S
    it should be realised as early as possible
  • 09 October 2015518. Truptee D
    I strongly supports to the commercialisation of Bt Brinjal.
  • 08 October 2015517. Sarang Pg
    I support this petition
  • 07 October 2015516. Ingo P
    I support this petition
  • 02 October 2015515. Kiran M
    I support this petition
  • 02 October 2015514. Ashok S
    The world's second largest populated nation is in desperate need of food security and whatever way it comes is most welcome. GM crops are omen of food securtity for generations to come. yesterday it was Bt cotton which revolutionised the economics of cott

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Paulette LarsonBy:
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