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Dhaka Tribune

Crop experiments needed for food security

Update : 16 Nov 2013, 06:53 PM

A number of different genetically modified crop varieties are being tested as part of the country’s efforts to modernise our agriculture.

The jury is still out on the risks. Worldwide, the reception has been mixed and concerns have been expressed about detrimental effects on crop diversity or the development of new dependencies on particular fertilizers and pesticides.

Potentially however, they are an important part of efforts to increase farmers output and resilience. Recent reports on the successful flood-tolerant paddy cultivation experiment in Gaibandha represent good news on this front.

It is only right that the department of agriculture extension (DAE) should take all necessary steps to confine trials of modified varieties of rice and potatoes before such crops are put to production. Extensive piloting and testing have to be conducted, so the DAE is right not to act hastily.

The DAE should take as long as it needs, and be absolutely certain about whatever good and bad effects these products will have, as we must be absolutely certain of the benefits before we proceed.

If the DAE needs a case for why it should take more time before releasing these crops, the uncertainty surrounding BT Brinjal should serve as a pretty good example.

We support the DAE in its efforts to continue to supplement our agriculture with innnovations that increase output in a cost effective and sustainable manner. 

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