EghtesadOnline: Majlis Joint Commission has removed an article incorporated in the bill for the next fiscal (March 2018-19) about imposing a ban on the import of transgenic crops that fail to secure permits from the Health Ministry, Ministry of Agricultural Jihad, Department of Environment and Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, IRNA reported.
The joint commission is a parliamentary body responsible for reviewing the budget bill as well as five-year development plans proposed by the government before its final ratification.
Transgenic technology refers to the 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 disease.
A topic of intense debate in Iran, research on development of transgenic crops has sparked controversies in the past three year. Opponents object to research on transgenic crops on several grounds, including environmental concerns and food safety, Financial Tribune reported.
They also argue that pests are likely to become resistant to the toxins produced by transgenic crops and these toxins might affect non-target organisms.
On the other hand, proponents of transgenic organisms related to crops and foodstuffs maintain that the technology is intended to make the crops more hardy and healthful, and to make more food available to more people in need.
According to Behzad Qareyazie, chairman of Biosafety Society of Iran, GM foods made their debut in Iran 20 years ago and transgenic crops of oilseed, soya, corn and colza are being consumed by Iranians.
“Thanks to the significant benefits of transgenic technology such as higher crop yields, reduced costs, increased profit and improvement in health and environment, Iranian academia, farmers and officials are willing to indigenize the production know-how,” he said.
Iran developed transgenic rice in 2004 and cultivated it in 2005. No pesticides were used in cultivating the transgenic produce, which made it healthy and economically viable as crop yields were also higher.