Monday, June 14, 2010

Bt Brinjal: What people say

Gene Campaign has been conducting polls through its website ( take a look at www.genecampaign.org ). The two last ones on Bt brinjal were interesting. 97 percent of the people polled said they would not eat Bt brinjal . In a later poll on whether people think the ban on Bt brinjal will be lifted or not, almost 75 percent said they believed the ban would stay. Only 25 percent polled said they though the ban would be lifted ! This perception that the government would uphold the ban because people did not want Bt brinjal ( the Environment Minister cited this as the reason he chose to impose the ban) demonstrates that people place their trust in government and believe it will not go against their wishes.

This trust in government came through clearly in a study that Gene Campaign and the University of Hyderabad have just concluded, on perceptions about GMOs. There too, farmers and consumers across five states, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Assam and Jharkhand said that government was the agency they trusted most among government, universities, companies , media and NGOs. This trust extended to information from government sources about agriculture, seeds, fertilizers etc, they wanted government in preference to any other agency, to test for the safety of GMOs. To label such foods and to monitor their long term impact

The government must be humbled by the trust placed in it by the country’s farmers and consumers with respect to agriculture and food technologies. This trust should propel government agencies to be that much more conscientious in discharging their duties and responsibilities as is expected from them, to safeguard the public interest.

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