Genetically modified crops key to India’s food security


India’s population will grow to 1.3 billion by 2017, so current agricultural output needs to be doubled against odds like changing climatic conditions, declining ratio of arable land to population and water getting scarcer.

This brings into the picture genetically modified crops, which can strengthen food security in India. GM crops are more robust against biotic and abiotic stresses, can resist disease, insects and weeds. They can also have the potential to resist droughts, floods and climatic change conditions.

Income from genetically modified Bt cotton among small farm households in India made a positive impact on food security and dietary quality, suggesting transgenic crops can be important in food security strategy.

But the role of GM crops for food security remains the subject of controversy. The negative perception is despite no adverse impact reported from any part of the US where GM crops have been in use for over two decades. The issue should be approached in light of the scientific proof and the unsubstantiated claims should be discredited.