Farming in India has reached a very crucial phase. In a scenario of rising consumption needs and aspirations, and dwindling or varying natural resources, it has become imperative for India to innovate or access appropriate technologies that will enhance our agricultural productivity efficiently.

Since the Green Revolution in the 1960’s, researchers, government and the private sector have been working relentlessly to improve the efficiency and productivity of agriculture in our country, blending science with traditional knowledge so the farming system will be more responsive to the needs of its farmers.

Today, the progress we have made is in jeopardy. We are under attack from several anti-technology activists who are using false and unfounded allegations to question our desire to have access to better technologies and seeds. They have gone so far as to request that our Supreme Court place a 10-year ban on GM crop field trials in India; a radical and ignorant proposal that could devastate Indian agriculture at a time when farmers must grow more food just to keep up with a population that recently boomed past 1.2 billion people.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court rejected this outrageous idea.

The worst may be yet to come, however: The Court appointed a Technical Expert Committee (TEC) to assess the benefits of GM plants, but the body lacks a single member who is an expert on the science of how modern technology can improve farm productivity.

So the “expert” committee lacks expertise.

Early next year, the Technical Expert Committee will issue a new and more detailed report. It will receive full consideration, even if it includes suggestions as harmful as the one our country just dodged.

Enough is enough. Why must India’s farmers always be held back? We should enjoy the right to grow the food our country desperately needs.

India must transform its attitude toward biotechnology and embrace the science that is helping farmers in the United States and other countries achieve record levels of food production.

(See Biotech crop barriers must fall in Africa)

Around the globe, farmers have harvested more than 3 billion acres of biotech crops. The food they produce has become a part of conventional diets. Both farmers and consumers benefit: Farmers grow more food on their land and consumers see their food bills kept in check.

Yet India’s government has failed to keep up with the times.