Brussels, February 9 - Responding to reports that India has today halted the commercial cultivation of a genetically modified aubergine crop (Bt-Brinjal), following several public consultations across the country and resistance from
scientists, farmers and green campaigners, Friends of the Earth Europe's food and agriculture campaigner Adrian Bebb said:
"India's environment minister has listened to the concerns of scientists, farmers and the public and concluded that this GM crop poses real risks to human health and the environment.
"GM crops around the world benefit big business, not local farmers or hungry people - in South America vast GM soy plantations are wiping out farming communities and forests to provide animal feed for factory farms in Europe.
"India's decision should serve as a reminder to those in Europe who want to weaken the EU's laws to please the biotech industry. Opposition and concern about GM crops is truly worldwide. The real solutions to the world's food and farming problems lies in planet-friendly farming that benefits consumers, farmers and the environment."
Notes to Editors
1. Despite fierce opposition from scientists, farmers and campaign groups, the GM crop Bt brinjal was cleared by an Indian government panel for commercial cultivation in October 2009. It was also cleared by The Genetic Engineering
Approval Committee (GEAC), India's bio-technology regulator. If it is finally approved by the Indian government, it will become the first GM food crop in India. Anti-Bt-Brinjal groups argue that its cultivation will affect the small farmers and harm humans.