GM seeds burnt by more than 3000 tribal women
Bhubaneshwar (Orissa): Demanding Orissa be declared an Organic State, more than 3000 tribal women today made a bonfire of hybrid and genetically modified seeds of cotton and other crops -- calling it the launch of a seed satyagrah...
The New Seed Bill
in the offing, they said, runs counter to the Plant Varieties Protection and Farmers' Right Act (PVPFA), 2001
Farmer's rights are now being taken away through the Seed Bill. This clearly demonstrates that the government is being run by the multinational seed companies. Orissa Nari Samaj (ONS), the tribal women's organisation with a membership of close to 200,000 demanded the scrapping of the proposed Seed Bill, and wanted to government to recognise the rights of the people in respect of indigenous seeds.
Demanding Orissa be declared an Organic State, more than 3000 tribal women today made a bonfire of hybrid and genetically modified seeds of cotton and other crops -- calling it the launch of a seed satyagrah --- here today. Walking through the streets of the city, the tribal women shouted slogans damning the GM seeds and the high-yielding crops that had pushed them into a cycle of poverty, indebtedness and hunger.
The tribals announced that they have already declared 200 villages in the tribal belt of the State as "organic vilages" and are presently cultivating indigenous seeds in more than 17,000 acreas in Orissa.
A delegation of the tribal women and some representatives of NGOs later met the Chief Minister, Mr Naveen Patnaik, who assured them that their demands would be looked into sympathetically. He also promised to convey the anger and feelings of the tribals to New Delhi.
The charter of demands that the tribal presented emphasised that "due to the rampant use of chemical inputs in agriculture and mechanization of agriculture, the unemployment problem has become acute, which in turn may precipitate extremism and violence in our beautiful peace-loving state of Orissa". The demand for organic foods, forest produces and herbal products is increasing at the rate of at least 20 per cent annually in the world market. So, there is a great scope for earning foreign exchange by promoting organic farming in the state and exporting the produces, even if one thinks materialistically; though food should not be produced primarily for commercial purposes as per the cannons of the Vedic culture of India, the charter said.
Organic farming is labour intensive; therefore, to a great extent, it can solve the problem of unemployment, which is one of the most serious problems of today's society. Or else Orissa will go the Andhra Pradesh way, where due to unemployment, arising out of 'modernisation' and mechanization of agriculture as well as destruction of local natural resources; the angry and rudderless youths and farmers voted the Chandrababu Naidu government out of power. They warned the chief minister that a similar process has already been initiated in the State as a result of which the political impact will be severe.
On the other hand, the biodiversity and forest rich state of Orissa can earn lots of revenue by value addition and re-estimation of the cost of forest produces and herbal medicines.
The New Seed Bill in the offing, they said, runs counter to the Plant Varieties Protection and Farmers' Right Act (PVPFA), 2001. The Government had given the right to farmers to sell and exchange their seeds through the PVPFA. But those rights are now being taken away through the Seed Bill. This clearly demonstrates that the government is being run by the multinational seed companies. Orissa Nari Samaj (ONS), the tribal women organisation with a membership of close to 200,000 demanded the scrapping of the proposed Seed Bill, and wanted to government to recognise the rights of the people in respect of indigenous seeds.
As the hybrid seeds lose their vigour after one crop, the farmers have to buy the seeds every year from the seed companies. Further, neither the farmers can keep the hybrid seeds or produce it, nor the farmers can exert any control over the prices of hybrid seeds and hence they have to completely depend on the companies for these seeds. The Genetically Modified (GM) seeds are more dangerous, since there is every chance of cross-pollination of GM seeds induced crops with similar indigenous seeds based locally grown crops. As a result the local varieties may in the process get genetically modified and become like terminator plants. There is therefore every possibility that the GM seeds will completely render infertile the local crops/seeds and therefore the food security of the state will be put into danger.
Highlighting the fact that an individual has to consume 9 kg of GM rice to get the required amount of Vitamin A (as required by Golden Rice) for the body where as it is possible to get the same amount of the Vitamin from one carrot only, grown organically, they demanded to ban these pro-commercial and harmful hybrid and GM seeds in Orissa.
They also demanded establishment of an Organic Bank, which will promote and give financial and technical incentives to the organic farmers and support the farmers during the transition period of converting their lands from chemical stage to organic stage. The government should provide the necessary support for marketing of the organic produces which includes the opening up of shopping complexes and retail outlets for exclusively for sale of organic produces in all the district headquarters and cities and further to provide rent free shops for the tribal farmers, through any of the supporting organizations.
Earlier, the tribal women exhibited over 1000 indigenous seeds and over 550 varieties of paddy at an exhibition held at Siddharth Vilage, some 20 kms from here. The conference was jointly organised by the Orissa Nari Samaj, Team for Human Resource Education and Action for Development (THREAD) and the Women’s Institute for Development Education Network -- Orissa.
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The path to progess and viable living is the organic workers controlled agricultural commune. That way seeds grown variably, and of high genetic quality can be brought forward and change will benefit the peoples. Mono-culture GMOS of dominent genetic content makes for a less livable crop advance over the years. It mixes with the other seeds and dominates so that variety ends and monopoly takes over, leaving the farmers with little or no choice of what or how they will get free to make the choices of seed crop rotation that the peasants brought forward for thousands of years. Monopoly seed ends free choice and threatens the vary foundation of seed variablilty. People ought to go to Maritimes Canada and follow the Percy Shmeiser vs. Monsanto case in the supreme court of Canada to see how our freedoms have been eroded by the war criminal company Monsanto (Maker of Round-up and 2-4-d as agent orange in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia during the U.S. Imperialist aggression against Indo-China. The U.S. Supreme Court just recently this year said that Vietnams claims could not be proven by science that the two million chronically poisoned people with no way to get it out of the gene pool, had anything to do with their Monsanto agent orange. Every person alive knows differently and the U.S. Supreme court is lying to the Indo-Chinese people and the world that it is not guilty of war crimes and owes compensation to the victums of its war crimes. Imperialism is reaction all along the line and must be brought to justice so the anti-fascist courts can gain back their power and prestige amongst the nations again. Monsanto tries to claim its seeds are modern agriculture but in reality they are lying and fronting bogus inferior seeds to get the monopoly right over the farmers and the rights to sell their unjust persistent poisons. It is truly good news that the tribal women are rising to the fight and burning these phoney GMO seeds. Good luck, the world needs change and politically the women need to double the democracy and get elected equally so they make half the laws in a calendar year. That includes getting elected equally judicially also. The better half of the species has been bereft of their natural harmony by the excessive war mongering males who have usurped the state in their own greedy and selfish narrow minded unecological way thusly causing an alienated condition called the modern man, woman question. The end of empire begins with the return of the matriarchy.