Awareness Programme: “Genetically Modified (GM) crops and their acceptance globally”

An awareness program on “Genetically Modified (GM) crops and their acceptance globally” was organized by DBT-AAU Centre, Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat on 26th May' 2017 with an objective to make people, particularly students from schools and colleges, aware of GM crop and its current trend of cultivation globally as well as in India.

In sync with the objective 350 students along with teachers from 10 schools and colleges participated in the program. Prof. Bidyut Kumar Sarmah, ICAR National Professor and Director, DBT-AAU Centre, Assam Agricultural University addressed the participants on GM Crops and explained about their acceptance worldwide. He emphasized on the fact that GM crops need to be accepted for food and nutritional security. In All, 70 countries are either growing or testing or importing GM crops. Total 28 countries are now growing GM crops. Highest acreage of 70 million hectare is in US. GM crops that are commercialized are soybean, maize, cotton, bean, plum, rice, sugarcane, potato, squash, sweet pepper, tomato, brassica etc. Globally 83% of soybean, 75% of Cotton, 29% maize and 24% of canola cultivation are occupied by GM varieties. In India, more than 90% of the cultivated cotton varieties are GM, which indicates a wide acceptance of GM crops by the Indian Farming community. Today, India has become the second largest exporter of cotton. The attendees especially the students were found enthusiastic about the concept of GM crops and its benefits which was evident from their enthusiastic interaction with Prof. Sarmah.

The teachers from various schools viewed that the awareness program was very essential in time, especially after the report on GEAC's recommendation for commercial release of GM mustard in India as well as when the Government of India appears positive towards deregulation of GM pulses mainly the chickpea resistant to insect pests that has been developed by Assam Agricultural University, Jorhat. During the program, a booklet entitled ‘For Food Security, Say YES to GM Crops’ was distributed to the participants. After the program the students visited DBT-AAU Centre to get acquainted with the various ongoing research activities.

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