Polemics around genetically modified crops : understanding the “problematizations” by the researchers and farmers in India

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Abstract: India is an agriculture based country where a big chunk of its population is employed in the agricultural sector. Despite significant improvements in food security mainly as a result of the Green revolution, farmers are still facing a list of problems. From among a range of solutions to help these farmers, GM crops were supposed to be an important one. The use of GM technology in agriculture gathered much attention worldwide ever since it came into practice and there are many different opinions about if and how GM crops can be of benefit to the farmers. In this study the ‘problematizations’ of agriculture by two directly involved and relatively less heard actors in GM debate, the farmers and the researchers, is analysed. The study employs Bacchi’s tool for policy analysis, the ‘What’s the problem represented to be (WPR) approach. This approach helps us understand that ‘problems’ are not objective, but that different groups of people might frame problems and associated solutions in different ways. This study also looks at how media has handled this debate so far as media has played a key role in this debate by (re)producing a large share of the GM discourse which affects the target audience. Findings of this study show that neither the farmers nor the researchers prioritize problems that can be solved only by the use of GM crops. Both, farmers and researchers describe policy discrepancies to be at the core of major agriculture problems. The results revealed that the GM debate might actually be a little less polarized than it appears in the media. It also suggests that there is a need for improved communication between the farmers and the researchers to discuss farmers’ problems as well as to generate awareness regarding new technologies. The study concludes that there are a lot of issues in agriculture which GM crops alone cannot solve rather they need a combination of solutions.

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