Beekeepers protest against commercial use of GM mustard
New Delhi: Stakeholders in the honey industry plans for a protest Wednesday to register their opposition to commercial cultivation of GM mustard at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.
Representatives of bee keepers’ associations, from states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jamu & Kashmir, Maharastra, Himachal Pradesh and exporters will take part in the protest.
They have appealed to state governments to intervene immediately and stop approval for its cultivation.
The Confederation of Beekeeping Industry, in a press statement, said “It is not just the honey industry but the production of mustard crop as well as various other food crops in the region that will be impacted” .
Speaking on behalf of the Confederation of Beekeeping Industry, Dev Vrat Sharma said “India’s honey industry has at least 5 lakh bee keepers families and has nearly one million livelihoods and enterprises at stake in direct and indirect ways. We produce around 90,000 metric tonnes of honey in India, out of which around 35,000 metric tonnes are exported, with an estimated value of 750 crore rupees. It is important to note that 50-60% of the total production of honey in India is Mustard Honey. Mustard, therefore, is a very important crop for the industry. Any permission to GM mustard will jeopardise this sector seriously”.
Dr I S hooda, who supports the protest, said “After the advent of Bt cotton, bee keepers lost a whole crop that used to exist for them for honey production during Kharif. First it was a reduction in honey and later of the bees themselves. We urge the government to first investigate the impacts of Bt cotton on our enterprise and ascertain for itself the rapid negative changes that have come about. It is important that our most important crop, mustard, is not affected by transgenic mustard being brought in, in the name of increasing yields”.
The industry persons, in the press statement, pointed out that their memorandum to the government went unaddressed.