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Mr. V. S. Achuthanandan
Honorable Chief Minister of Kerala
Room No. 141, Secretariat, Tvm 1
Thiruvananthapuram - 1                                                                                                                    April 12, 2008

Dear Honorable Chief Minister:

It is with profound regret we read that while addressing a seminar on “GM Crops and Biodiversity” organized by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board on April 10, 2008, you made an emphatic statement that your government will not allow any Genetically Modified (GM) crop in your state. Apparently, you seem to have been convinced that modern day GM crops are detrimental to your state's farmers and to the environment of the state. Any respectable, practicing biotechnologist in the audience would have taken an exception to your assertions about the GM crops as they are completely opposite to the existing scientific knowledge. We have no doubt that you have been seriously misled by the anti-GM propaganda.

We (www.fbae.org) are group of scientists who have taken upon ourselves to spread awareness and educate the public at large about the risks and benefits of modern biotechnology. We are baffled by your assertion that after studying both pros and cons of the global GM crops debate, you have arrived at the conclusion that GM crops are bad for Kerala. We were equally astonished that your agriculture commissioner Mr. Jayakumar, who should have known better about this technology, is also of the opinion that GM crops do not enhance crop productivity, and feels that farmers are trapped by allure. Mr. Jayakumar would have done by himself a great favor had he taken the trouble of familiarizing with scientific facts and information about GM crops. All he had to do was to get in touch with the faculty of your own Kerala Agricultural University to get some authentic information about GM crops and modern biotechnology. Your commissioner should have just wondered a moment as to why the Department of Biotechnolgy in New Delhi is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to support GM crops technology development throughout the country if it is so bad.

We wish to bring to your attention that more than a billion acre of GM crops are being cultivated in more than 22 countries around the world without a single instance of any harm to humans, animals or the environment. On the contrary, GM crops have immensely benefited the growers around the world by increasing their productivity and increasing their income, not to mention the environmental benefits of growing GM crops. GM crops technology has been endorsed by leading scientific academies of the world including Indian National Science Academy. India's lone GM crop, Bt cotton has brought immense benefits to farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. Since the introduction of Bt cotton in 2002, its acreage has grown logarithmically demonstrating that it is the most rapidly adopted crops in the history of crop introduction in India. Granted cotton is of no relevance to your state's agriculture, but there are many other GM crops in the pipeline that can help Kerala's agricultural productivity that should not be denied to the farmers of Kerala due to false anti-technology propaganda.

We will be happy to furnish any number of authentic, peer reviewed and independent studies, reports, and publications that can attest tot eh safety and utility of GM crops not only around the world, but also in India. We urge you to seek proper scientific counsel before taking such drastic decisions and announcing reckless policy decisions that will truly harm your State's farmers whom you want to help so much.

By deciding to ban GM crops in Kerala, you are denying your state's farmers one of the latest tools of modern technology, and setting them backwards. This will seriously hurt the agriculture of Kerala and we do not think you would like history to judge you as a Chief Minister who hurt the prospects of Kerala agriculture by banning one of the most innovative and transformative of modern biotechnologies in the state.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any assistance in clarifying the situation more.

Cc: Mr. K. Jayakumar
Agriculture Production Commissioner
Dr. Shanthu Shantharam
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The latest issue of Plant Physiology (July 2008; Volume 147, Issue 3) has a special section on next generation of biotech crops especially on nutritional improvement.  These papers can
be downloaded free!

Influence of Transgenosis on the Plant-Insect- Relationships, in Particular on Chemically       Mediated Interactions

Effect of Transgenes Conferring Enhanced Pathogen Resistance on the Interaction with Symbiotic        Fungi in Rice

Impact on the Soil Ecosystem through Natural and Genetically Engineered Organisms:
      Effects, Methods and Definition of Damage as Contribution to Risk Assessment

The Decomposition of Bt-Corn on the Fields and its Impact on Earthworms and on other        Macroorganisms in the Soil

Environmental Post-market Monitoring of Bt-maize:
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