Environmental non-government organisations in India have called on the government to ban imports of genetically modified crops. They seek to follow the example set by Thailand, which was the first Asian country to ban the release of GM organisms into the environment.

Michelle Chawla of Greenpeace pointed to caution in the EU, where a moratorium has been imposed on the commercial release of GM crops. “More countries are looking for GE-free soya and Indian farmers could find an opportunity in this market,” she said.

The environmental groups have submitted a petition to the Union Environment Ministry in which they demand an end to all field-testing of Bt cotton and the publication of the results of field trials carried out by Monsanto-Mahyco.

Key signatories to the petition include the All India Kisan Sabha, Beej Bachao Andolan, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, Kalpavriksh and Swami Agnivesh’s Bandhua Mukti Morcha.