GM Mustard: What is GM Mustard and its benefits?

Published on: 12-Jan-2024

It is a well-known fact that India imports a large quantity of oil. However, the controversy surrounding the commercial cultivation of GM mustard continues to linger even after its approval by the Indian government. Nowadays, there is a lot of debate in India regarding the commercial cultivation of GM mustard, which is genetically modified mustard. Despite the Central Government's approval, the controversy over it persists, and the Supreme Court recently debated this issue. The question that arises is why the controversy over GM mustard has arisen in the first place. To understand this, we need to know what GM mustard is and its benefits. Last year, the Biotech regulator Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee of the Union Environment Ministry approved the commercial cultivation of GM mustard, which sparked strong opposition from many farmer groups, AGOs, and environment-related organizations, leading the matter to reach the court.

What do the organizations standing against this have to say?

On one hand, the organizations standing against it say that due to the use of GM mustard in India, agriculture will suffer a lot. Also,  according to experts, this will increase productivity and farmers will benefit greatly from it.  Experts also say that it is being cultivated successfully in many countries.  In such a situation, if India also adopts it, it will have many benefits in the future. But, what will be the benefit to the farmers from this?

Also read: Research started to prepare GM seeds of 13 crops

Important information about GM mustard

Genetically modified mustard ( GM mustard ) is a species of mustard created by mixing two different varieties of plants.  This means that it is a hybrid species, which has been created in the lab.  The chances of contracting diseases are very low. Besides, its production also remains high.  Now the yield of the first generation hybrid species obtained from such crossing is likely to be higher than the original varieties. However, doing this with mustard was not convenient. This is because its flowers contain both male and female reproductive organs.  This means that the mustard plant pollinates itself to a large extent and Does not require pollination from any other plant. In such a situation, the opportunity to create hybrid varieties of mustard like maize, tomato, or cotton is greatly reduced.

Various benefits of producing GM mustard

Increase in Productivity: Proponents argue that GM mustard, especially Dhara mustard hybrid ( DMH - 11 ), has the potential to significantly increase the productivity of mustard crops. Because of this, mustard cultivation is currently being seen in India. It can help in dealing with the problem of low productivity.

Also read: Mustard Cultivation: Good income at low cost

Reduction in import dependence: India imports edible oils in large quantities and GM mustard can reduce this dependence by increasing domestic mustard oil production. This could potentially save foreign exchange and promote self-reliance in edible oil production

Crop protection: Genetic modification can confer resistance to pests and diseases, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.  This can encourage environmentally friendly and sustainable agricultural practices.