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Recall Bt brinjal saplings, activists tell govt

New Age Online

Environment activists warned Tuesday that farmers of Bangladesh and vegetable exporters may face dire consequences if the government goes along with the Genetically Modified brinjal and other crops.
They said European countries have expressed their concerns over GM crop cultivation in many countries.
The activists also urged the government to immediately stop introduction process of other GM crops, such as potatoes and golden rice, considering their hazards to human health, environment and bio-diversity in the country.
The campaigners under banners of 'Peoples' coalition against GM and coalition against bt brinjal' held a protest rally and also formed a human chain in front of National Press Club on Tuesday.
They also called upon the government to immediately recall the Bt Brinjal saplings which were recently distributed among the farmers for cultivation in some areas including Gazipur, Rangpur and Ishwardi.
MA Sobhan, renowned a scientist and also a research consultant of Policy Research for Development Alternative, presided over the protest rally and the human chain programme.
Stressing on making Bangladesh a GMO-free country, Sobhan said the government should recall the distributed bt brinjal seeds before harming the farmers and consumers.
He also said bt brinjal is harmful to human health and environment.
The government is cheating on the people and the farmers, Sobhan said.
A total of 28 diseases which can attack brinjal, he said, adding that bt brinjal is made resistant against one disease only.
Farida Akhter, executive director of UBINIG and also anti-GMO campaigner, said many farmers in India committed suicides after facing crop failures, such as harvest failure of Bt cotton.
Farmers in Bangladesh will also face severe loss and may face dire consequences if the GM crops are forced to cultivate in the country, she warned.
Describing Bangladesh as vegetable exporting country, she said the EU countries have voiced against cultivation of GM crops and threatened to stop importing vegetables from Bangladesh.
Research of bt brinjal cultivation was conducted in three countries including India, the Philippines and Bangladesh. However, India and the Philippines have imposed ban on cultivation of the crops, they mentioned.
By introducing GM crops in Bangladesh, the multinational companies will destroy sovereignty of indigenous seeds in Bangladesh, they added.




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