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‘Harmonise laws of bio-diversity’

| | New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said laws on conservation of agro-biodiversity should not come in the way of growth of agriculture in developing nations like India. While inaugurating an international conference on Agrio-biodiversity, the PM added that efforts should be made to see how various rules related to agro-biodiversity can be harmonised so that these do not come in the way of development of agriculture and farmers.

"We will also have to see how various rules related to agro-biodiversity can be harmonised so that these laws do not come in the way of development of agriculture and farmers," PM said.

While talking of use of technology for crop enhancement, Modi asserted that use of technologies must not be at the cost of sustainable development. "World over, crores of poor people are fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty. To address these issues, science and technology is very important. While finding solution to these problems, we should not ignore sustainable development and conservation of biodiversity," Modi said. He called to adopt a shared vision for conserving plans and animal species through research and proper management of genetic resources.

While talking of importance of technology in agriculture, Modi called for its rationing too. "There is a need to assess the negative impact of use of the technology in agriculture," PM said and citing the example of pesticides affecting honeybee in pollination. Terming pesticides as a major concern in agri ecosystem, PM added, "The use of pesticide not only kills pests but also those insects necessary for entire eco-system. Therefore, there is a need to audit development of Science. In the absence of audit, the world is facing various challenges."

In a lighter vein, he also mentioned that technology's negative impact on people was such that they do not remember their own telephone numbers after the introduction of mobiles. "We need to be alert on how application of technology in agriculture is bringing changes," he said.

During his speech, PM shared his concern over extinction of genetic resources and called to work together for a common approach for conservation of agro-biodiversity. He mentioned that about 50-150 species are getting extinct every day despite adoption of the recommendations of the 1992 biological diversity convention. "In the 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," PM said.

While underlining that the problem of climate change has been due to imbalance in nature, Modi said, "In view of global warming threat, we have ratified Paris agreement on October 2. India is playing a leading role."

Elaborating on the richness of India's biodiversity, Modi said there are more than 47,000 plant species and over 89,000 animal species besides over 8,100 km of coastal areas. India has been able to protect genetic resources as ancestors linked agri-produce with culture. The country has been able to conserve many varieties including ‘Konamani’ rice variety in South India, ‘Agnibora’ in Assam, ‘Bhalia’; wheat in Gujarat. He added that India has also helped other nations in conserving agro-biodiversity. For example, Haryana's buffalo breed ‘Murah’ and Gujarat's ‘Zafrabadi’ are known as international trans-boundary breeds.

Emphasising on widening the scope of research for value-addition on the strength of biodiversity, Modi mentioned how a high nutritional grass variety 'Banni' in Gujarat was helping in increasing milk production.

 
 
 

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