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Modi: Won’t let laws on biodiversityhit farmers

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Nov 7, 2016, 1:44 am IST
Updated : Nov 7, 2016, 1:44 am IST

Terming pesticides a major concern in the agri-ecosystem, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday there was a need to audit the development of science.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the inaugural ceremony of 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress 2016. (Photo: PTI)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the inaugural ceremony of 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress 2016. (Photo: PTI)

Terming pesticides a major concern in the agri-ecosystem, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday there was a need to audit the development of science. Addressing the first-ever International Agro-Biodiversity Congress here, Mr Modi said: “The use of pesticides not only kills pests but also those insects necessary for the entire eco-system. Therefore, there is a need to audit the development of science. In the absence of such audit, the world is facing various challenges.”

There is a need to assess the negative impact of the use of technology in agriculture, he said, citing the example of pesticide usage affecting honeybees in pollination process. “The world over, crores of the poor are fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty. To address these issues, science and technology is very important. While finding a solution to these problems, we shouldn’t ignore sustainable development and conservation of biodiversity,” Mr Modi said at the event attended by around 900 delegates from 60 countries.

Expressing concern at the extinction of genetic resources, the PM called for national, international and private bodies and experts to work together and prepare a shared vision for the conservation of agro-biodiversity. “We will also have to see how various rules (on) agro-biodiversity can be harmonised so that these laws do not come in the way of development of agriculture and farmers.”

He said around 50-150 species were getting extinct every day despite the adoption of the recommendations of the 1992 biological diversity convention. “In coming years, there is threat of extinction of one out of eight birds and one fourth of animals. We will have to change our thinking,” the Prime Minister said.

“People have exploited natural resources blindly in the name of development. As a result, challenges are going to grow in coming days. In the current scenario, discussion and research on agro-biodiversity is very important for achieving global food, nutrition, health and environment security,” he added.

Addressing the conference, agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said India had rich genetic resources to face challenges like climate change on agriculture. The country has the world’s second largest gene bank with 4.29 lakh species, he added.

Eminent agri-scientist and father of the Green Revolution in India M.S. Swaminathan urged Mr Modi to take up with the United Nations a proposal for an International Year of Agro-Biodiversity.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi