martes, febrero 15, 2005

Farida Akhter & Farhad Mazhar

The BBC Bangla news on 18 January, 2005 (as well as found in BBC website titled "Bangladesh 'endorses' GM rice") reported on the possible allowing of research of GM rice in the country. This news came as a shock to the environmental activists who have been resisting the introduction of GMOs. It was also a puzzle to those who have been debating on the GMO issues on scientific grounds including bio-safety and other regulatory matters. Bangladesh does not have the capacity to contain GMOs and legal and regulatory regimes are absent to deal with transgenic products. The decision of the Ministry of Agriculture amounts to knowingly polluting biodiversity of Bangladesh, particularly agrobiodiversity and opening the door for the destruction of biodiversity-based farming systems of Bangladesh.

Biodiversity-based production system of Bangladesh is unique both historically and scientifically and recent interests in the private sectors to market ecologically produced safe food clearly demonstrates tremendous economic potential for organic and ecological product both domestically and internationally. In that case introduction of GMO rice is a clear economic threat to this nascent sector as well. Geographically Bangladesh belongs to the origin of diversity areas of the world. Government failed to clarify the reasons to take such decision of endorsing GMOs that poses threat to human health, environment and to the farming communities. The genetically engineered rice variety that is going to be introduced has for long been criticised by scientists, farmers and activist as a gimmick and have no agronomic value .


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