The government will continue plans allowing Genetically Modified (GM) crop cultivation, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury told a discussion yesterday on rice production in Asia and food security in Bangladesh.
“But we must take care that none is affected. But we will do whatever is needed. Once we heard criticisms for allowing hybrids here to increase food production. Today the next step is GMO (genetically modified organism),” she said.
Earlier conservative, Europe even expressed intent recently to go for GMO, she told the programme organised by Bangladesh Agricultural Journalists and Activists Federation (BAJAF) in AKM Giasuddin Milky Auditorium at Khamarbari.
“They can wait because they have an abundance of land. We do not have land but have a huge population. What else will we have if people die for the absence of food for the stance on pure foods,” said Matia.
“We do not suffer from the aristocratic conservativeness that we will not accept, assimilate new technology by breaking our taboo to increase production,” she added.
She said GMO would become acceptable through avoidance of those that affect humans. “What is Golden rice,” she said, adding that GM crops already in circulation include soybean, canola oil and cotton.
Matia said people were voicing reluctance despite consuming such crops at present. “Let those who have an abundance of land go for the luxury. We are going with this sort of luxury but we will be careful,” she said.
There is no proof that GM crops the government gave nod to earlier caused deaths and without proof, nothing will be accepted, she said.
Replying to a question on land use policies, Matia said the government cannot force the owners of land belonging to the private sector.
Forcing private sector to follow certain land zoning or land use system is next to impossible, she said adding the government was taking steps to promote agriculture in the south.
She said the ministry gives emphasis on introducing improved varieties of rice for cultivation during Aman and Aus season to increase rice production.