Economy, Domestic Economy

Transgenic Cotton Production Approved

Transgenic Cotton Production ApprovedTransgenic Cotton Production Approved

The Health Ministry has authorized domestic production of transgenic cotton in the current Iranian year (March 2016-17), announced the chairman of Biosafety Society of Iran.

Behzad Ghareyazie was speaking at a press conference held to mark the 20th anniversary of the commercialization of transgenic crops on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

“Thanks to the significant benefits of transgenic technology such as higher crop yields, reduced costs, increased profits and improvement in health and environment, Iranian academia, farmers and officials are willing to indigenize the production know-how,” he said.

Transgenic technology refers to processes that remove genetic material from one species of plant and add it to another to improve crop yields and protect those yields from pests and diseases.

There is scientific consensus that food on the market derived from genetically modified crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food.

However, opponents object to GM crops on several grounds, including environmental concerns, food safety, whether they are necessary and economic concerns raised by the fact transgenic products are subject to intellectual property law.

“Some ‘technophobes’ claim that the Europeans oppose cultivation of transgenic crops. However, as we speak, five of these countries have permitted consumption and imports of 71 genetically modified products,” he said.

“Rasht (in the northern province of Gilan) is home to a research center tasked with production of transgenic rice next year. Also, research is underway to create GM drought-resistant rice. The country would no longer need to import rice once we cultivate this variety of GM rice.”

Ghareyazie said Iranian scientists had developed transgenic rice in the past, but the infrastructures of Rasht research center, which conducted the studies, were destroyed ‘illegally’ along with their produce.

Transgenic products, such as vegetable oil, soybean and red meat, constitute 90% of the Iran’s food imports, said the former agriculture minister, Isa Kalantari, who was also present in the presser.

“The imports of such products result in the outflow of up to $4 billion annually. Figures show that globally 200 million hectares of farmland are currently under the cultivation of transgenic crops. Major food exporters, including Argentina, Brazil and the United States, are major producers of transgenic products as well,” he said.