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ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

7 July 2002

NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN AGAINST BT COTTON/MORE ON GENETIC ENGINEERING AND FARMING IN INDIA

ECO-India, involved in previous protests over GE cotton (item 2), is launching a nationwide campaign over Bt cotton commercialisation.

1. Nationwide campaign aganist Bt cotton
2. Bt Cotton burnt on Holi
3. Bt cotton will kill farmers - excerpts
4. The AgBioIndia mailing list
5. More on genetic engineering and farming in India

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1. Nationwide campaign aganist Bt cotton

Press Release

To safeguard the interest of farmers and  to counter the pro-GMO propaganda of multinational  companies, a nation wide campaign has been launched by ECO-India in India.

Speaking to media persons, here at Hisar Dr Sudhir Kumar Kaura, the national coordinator of ECO-India, said that there is an urgent need to  educate the farmers that Bt cotton is not and never will be the solution to the bollworm. The real cause of increasing  bollworm incidence is the usage of chemical ferttilizers like urea which makes the plants succulent and dilute the  natural defence molecules like tannins, natural phenolic  compounds, gossypol, etc.

Dr Kaura said that mass campaign aganist Bt cotton will involve public rallies, free correspondence courses, demonstration of organic cotton growing methodologies, etc.

Sudhir Kumar Kaura
Co-ordinator
Natural Farming Network
(we deal in life)

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2. Bt Cotton burnt on Holi

Press Relaase
Dated 28 March 2002
Ref. 103/PN/03

Bt Cotton burnt on Holi eve by Farmers

On the eve of Holi Festival on 28 March, 2002 hazardous seeds of Bt cotton were burnt by farmers of village Sadalpur, District Hisar Haryana, India. In this ritual children, aged villagers and young  farmers were present.

Burning of Holi is an ancient ritual which reminds us of burning of Holika the sister of Pralahad, who was son of Hiranayakashyap, the ancient king who did not fear God and felt that he was himself God and whatever he did was right and he even killed the devotees of God. Prahalad, being a devotee of God Vishnu, was burnt, on the orders of his father. He survived the fire, but his sister Holika died, though he was sitting on the lap of his sister.

One of the farmer of village, Mr Ram Sing Dharnia tied traditional cotton thread on wrists of the farmers present at the occassion and they promised him that they will protect farmers, country and nature from anti-nature seeds like that of BT cotton.

National coordinator of ECO-India, who was an invitee at the function,  administerd farmers the oath of boycotting the BT cotton and boycottong  any person buying, selling and growing BT cotton. Farmers also signed  the written oath and demand for banning the BT cotton. A signature  campaign has been launched in the village by young farmers Rajesh Kumar, Anup, Suresh, Prem Kumar, Ram Singh, Dara Singh and Om Prakash.
Sudhir Kumar Kaura
Co-ordinator, ECO-India
____________________________________________________
ECO-India, 10-C Friends Colony, Hisar-125 001; India
Telephone: 016 62-291 63; Email: ecoindia@mailcity.com
Web site: www.geocities.com/ecoindia

ECO-India is a voluntary & non-profit organisation working in the field  of environment protection and natural farming

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3. Devinder Sharma on Bt Cotton

excerpts from 'Bt cotton will kill farmers, financially and literally',
an interview with Devinder Sharma
http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/121201f.htm

"...even before the research trials for Bt cotton began in India, Dr Manju Sharma (the head of India's Department of Biotechnology) has been making public statements about its utility and effectiveness. How does she know the outcome of the research trials before they were actually being conducted and finalised?

...[in the trials] scientific norms were thrown to wind and for obvious reasons... This is in reality the greatest scientific fraud to have hit Indian science.

For three years, the crop trials were conducted by Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited and Monsanto... the data was never scrutinised by an independent team of experts.. If you look at the composition of the three committees that evaluate the data at three stages, the Department of Bio Technology has very cleverly stuffed the committees with pro-industry scientists and farmers. The conclusions of these committees was therefore known to us even before they met...

...As an agricultural scientist myself, I was appalled to learn that for the three years of research trials, the crop was not once sown in time.

For instance, it was sown as late as two to three months last year. Yet, the department says that the crop yields were as high as 50 per cent.

Manju Sharma even mentioned that the yields were as high as 80 per cent!
 
 ...when the crop is sown late, it escapes the insect attack which is at its peak in the first two months. With no insect attack, the crop losses are minimal. So where's the great success?
 
It is true that cotton alone consumes more than 50 per cent of the pesticides. But it is also true that these very agricultural scientists had all these years said that there was no escape for cotton farmers but to use more potent pesticides.

These scientists were actually promoting the pesticides industry's interests all these years. They were not looking for more sustainable and farmer-friendly options.

The same class of agricultural scientists are now backing the genetically modified cotton. In essence, once again they are promoting the industry's commercial interests. This time it is the biotechnology industry which has more money to sponsor research and other activities.

In the bargain, cotton farmers are being asked to get out of the 'pesticides treadmill' and get into a hitherto unknown and more dangerous 'biological treadmill', the consequences of which can be disastrous.

...This is exactly what happened when the fourth generation pesticides synthetic pyrethroids were introduced in the country less than 20 years ago. And since then over 10,000 cotton growers have committed suicide.

Synthetic pyrethroids are fourth generation pesticides, which were introduced in India sometimes in mid-1980s as the answer to the bollworm pest problem in cotton.

I had at that time warned against its use saying that the pest would develop resistance against it and then what would be the answer. But the scientists as well as the farmers were very happy with the results for the first two to three years and then the insect started developing resistance.

The pest-host relationship became so hostile that farmers were a dismayed lot and then began the spate of suicides....

...The suicides began when farmers were unable to control the American bollworm pests which in turn devoured the crop. The farmers were also under heavy debt and the only option for nearly 10,000 of the estimated 15,000 farmers in the past few years was to take the fatal route to escape the humiliation that comes along with indebtedness.

Who is accountable for these deaths? Why shouldn't the agricultural scientists be held responsible for such a massive human tragedy, perhaps the greatest in the history of independent India?

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4. The AgBioIndia mailing list

To subscribe to the AgBioIndia mailing list of the Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security directed by Devinder Sharma, send a blank e-mail to subscribe@agbioindia.org
Archive at http://www.agbioindia.org/archive.asp
Website: http://www.agbioindia.org

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5. more on genetic engineering and Indian farming at:

http://ngin.tripod.com/feedtheworld.htm
Indian farmers talk about genetic engineering
Indian farmers judge GM crops
Biotechnology : Not the answer to hunger
Biotechnology: Exploiting the Poor and Hungry
Green Revolution turns sour
Bt cotton will kill farmers, financially and literally
The Golden Rice Hoax  - When PR replaces Science

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