Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury has categorically said that she will not change her stance on genetically modified (GM) crops, despite criticism by some opponents. “No one can give any example of any harm caused (by GM crops). We (have cultivated) it before and we’ll do it in future,” she said, speaking at a dissemination of the new ‘National Nutrition Policy’ on Thursday.
There was a hue and cry in Bangladesh when the government introduced commercial cultivation of ‘Bt Brinjal’ in 2013. However, this has been hailed globally. A US professor of genetics and biotechnology, Channa S Prakash, during his recent visit to Dhaka, also appreciated the government for adopting GM technology.
There were at least 2,200 scientific papers that proved genetically modified crops were “safe”, he had said. The agriculture minister brought the issue to the fore at the nutrition discussion while stressing the need to achieve food autarky. She said for nutrition, Bangladesh first needed to be self-sufficient in food.
“The US and the European countries can be choosy because they have vast lands for cultivation. But we cannot,” she said.
“We took the decision (regarding GM crops) after considering all aspects related to it,” she said, “We’ll not change our stance.”
The new nutrition policy adopted last year stressed multi-sectoral approaches to improve the nutritional situation.
Health Minister Mohammed Nasim and Food Minister Qamrul Islam and Unicef, WHO and FAO representatives also spoke at the deliberations on the policy, according to a news agency.