Wake-up Call

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India warned to beware of GMO crops and Monsanto take-over

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Vandana Shiva on Monsanto Indian Farmer Suicides:

“Every seed that is in the market in cotton today, linked to one company or others, is licensed and controlled by Monsanto.”

Beware of GM crops, patent regimes

Pavan Vangipuram

HYDERABAD: Dr Shiv Chopra has not made himself many friends among the multinational food corporations trying to force their way into India.

A microbiologist who spent several years with Health Canada, he blew the whistle on Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rbGH) and its harmful effects. His efforts caused much consternation in Monsanto, the producer of rbGH, and he has been a fierce opponent of genetically-modified food products ever since. In a press conference on Monday, he explained his concerns.

“India is being told it will run out of food and needs GM crops,” Dr Chopra remarked, “but this simply isn’t true.

That information comes from the multinationals, and they have their own agenda.” Contrary to the accepted wisdom, Dr Chopra considers India’s Green Revolution “a failure and a fraud”. Its purported success was purely the invention of Monsanto and other multinationals, who only wish for good publicity for their products. In fact, he contends, whatever success India had in its Green Revolution was solely due to free electricity, improved irrigation, and the hard work of India’s farmers.

“These companies regard India as either inept or corrupt,” Dr Chopra said of Monsanto. “They only seek to use India as a guinea pig for their genetic experiments. They think we need them, but in fact, they need us.” Dr Chopra also warned against the gene patenting practices Monsanto employs, saying they were a major reason for India’s recent spate of farmer suicides.

“Under the current patent regime, farmers are not allowed to save their seeds for next year’s harvest. They must continue to buy from Monsanto, year after year. If their crop fails, they go bankrupt and have no recourse.

Additionally, these farmers can be sued by Monsanto if the wind happens to blow a Monsanto seed onto their farm. They then have to prove that they didn’t `save’ the seed from a previous harvest, or face lakhs of rupees in fines. This, of course, would destroy them.” He added, “The whole basis of gene patent law is corrupt.” Still, Dr Chopra sees reason for hope, not least because of Minister of State for Environment & Forest Jairam Ramesh’s moratorium on Bt Brinjal.

“I want to profusely thank Minister Ramesh for his decision,” Dr Chopra remarked. “He listened to the people and did the right thing.” However, Dr Chopra stressed that the fight was not over. “Monsanto has already indicated that if India bans Bt, they’ll simply send it to Bangladesh,” he explained. “In my opinion these companies — Monsanto, Pfizer, Con- Agra, and so forth — are just new names for the East India Company.

Their goals are the same. We must remain vigilant. We cannot allow ourselves to be colonised yet again.”

also see:

Biotech Battle Escalates; India Prepares to Sue GMO Giants

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3 Responses

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  1. […] laudyms.wordpress.com February 18, 2010 […]

  2. A very useful article and a follo-up is required of it. People have to know how this insidous story is unfolding and be updated.Have just read the article on US agri farmers agitation…imperative that people should understand widely,especially in a country like India where the mainstream newspapers and braodcast media are blocking out the inconvenient stories.

    Manjira Datta

    April 13, 2010 at 9:05 pm

  3. The truth about lack of testing and an approval process for GMO crops without adequate information is finally getting out. See more at https://laudyms.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/mainstream-science-questions-gmo-safety-and-lack-of-testing/

    laudyms

    April 14, 2010 at 9:42 am


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