How does the general public perceive agricultural biotechnology?
If you talk to people on the streets of India, it becomes apparent that few people are against biotechnology per se. Medical biotechnology, for example, is broadly accepted: there seems to be no reservations about biotechnology if the end result is believed to be improvements in medicine. Agricultural biotechnology is another matter. Although more than 100 generic products have been made available in India in recent years, we have had enormous difficulties in introducing Bt cotton and genetically modified mustard. And we face similar difficulties now with regard to the introduction of ‘golden rice’. The public perception of genetically engineered agricultural products in India is largely one based on suspicion and doubt. This is mainly due to misinformation and ignorance about what agricultural biotechnology is, and what it can do for us. What do you think is the reason behind the fear and suspicion in public mind? The anti-technology activists are responsible for all misinformation. I