NAGPUR: Chairman of Review Committee for Genetic Manipulations (RCGM) Dr B Sesikeran on Sunday said by stalling Bt brinjal, India has only done more harm than good while neighbouring Bangladesh has reaped its benefits.

“Over 6,000 farmers are benefiting from it and not a single person has died,” said Sesikeran, who was in the city for a national conference at Community College.

Sesikeran, who is also chairman of scientific panel FSSAI, feels taking a cue from across the border, farmers from West Bengal too would soon adopt the genetically modified (GM) crops.

“A large part of Bangladesh is consuming Bt brinjal. The next would be GM mustard that they will adopt based on India’s food safety trials and we are still stuck. The previous government issued a moratorium and the present government doesn’t have any plans. But we need to look at future and augment our food production,” he said.

The RCGM chairman said technology holds answer to our growing needs and the government needs to plan its implementation properly.

When pointed out that the thrust of today’s consumer is also on eco-friendly products such as organic produce, Sesikeran said he was convinced that it is healthy for humans. “But, look at the cost and output. Organic vegetables, grains or fruits are not for the poor. It is the rich man’s food. After investing so much, the yield is not enough to feed the whole country.”

But if technology is used in farming, then the use of pesticides too will reduce, he said. “GM crops too are pesticide-free. Look at Bt cotton, not only the technology has helped us tackle the problem of bollworms but also increased the yield. The size of flower is increased,” Sesikeran said.

Sesikeran said in every technology there is a risk and we need a plan to manage it. “The government should have made a risk management plan. If I tell you how harmful the cellular radiation is, will you stop using mobile? No. You may adopt preventive measures. Similarly, such concerns have to be factored in and solutions found instead of banning a technology,” he said.