Awaken Nepal

Court bans genetically modified seeds


The imports of genetically modified(GM) seeds has been prohibited, issuing an interim order to the government by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

So it has banned the GM seeds including those supplied by Monsanto, a US-based chemical and agricultural biotechnology company.

The newfangled seeds can be used for growing crops only once, and cannot be reproduced unlike regular seeds.

But the ban will be effective till Jan 16. After that court will again decide whether the ban should be continued after hearing arguments of the petitioner and the defendant. The Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Agricultural Research Council (Narc), among others, have been named defendants in the writ.

The petition was filed by Advocate Arjun Aryal and Judge Baidya Nath Upadhyay gave the above response.

Aryal has filed the writ on Dec 29 seeking court intervention after a number of companies were reported to be preparing to import GM seeds. He has mentioned in his plea that GM seeds push out local seed varieties and affect biodiversity.

They are also harmful to public health. Similarly, he has argued that importing seeds from foreign firms results in a huge outflow of money.

The petition was filed against a backdrop of protests against the controversial multinational corporation’s entry into Nepal’s seed business. Civil society organisations, the National Right to Food Network, NGOs and farmer groups have also been demanding that the government immediately ban imports of the seed.

Out of the 556 types of seeds being used in the country, 215 have been developed domestically while the rest are imported. According to Narc, the imported seeds consist of 17 paddy, 32 maize and 292 vegetable seeds. Currently, four vegetable and five maize seeds developed by Monsanto are sold in Nepal, according to the Ministry of Agriculture Development.

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