Helping anti-BT voices gain strength
Apr 7, 2012 :It has been over a decade since BT Cotton silently made its foray into the state. SAGE-SAMVADA in Mysore is pressing for strong anti-BT steps to be taken by the government before it is too late, says Preethi Nagaraj.
It's been more than a decade since genetically engineered (GE) crops hit the world agriculture and the damage they have created is said to be enormous.
The hype weaved around GE crops has caught the poor vulnerable farmer who became an easy prey for the agro-chemical companies to sell their products.
All through the years world has seen how GE crops have systematically debilitated the world agriculture and all the more small and marginal farmers. Cases of farmers' suicides, genetic contamination, economic disasters, environmental damage and unexplained decline in fauna have also been caused by GE crops.
Over the years, it is evident that GE crops are being met with stiff resistance by the farming community and consumers. In parts of Mysore district,despite repeated failure of BT cotton in farmers' field, the government is stridently promoting it.
Government has banned DCH-32 hybrid variety of cotton, which was grown by farmers for a long time, only to pave way to companies to promote their seeds.
In an attempt to break away from the vicious circle of BT cotton, many cotton growing farmers have taken to organic agriculture. They have saved 90 per cent of expenses on external inputs and reaped good yields. Organic cotton has proved its superior quality in the market paving the way for an independent market with assured supportive prices for ryots.
In such a situation, government promoting BT cotton will bring more disasters. The genetic contamination caused by BT cotton would destroy the emerging market for organic cotton.
As a response to this, SAGE-SAMVADA, the Mysore unit of SAGE, has organized an anti-GE protest on the occasion of Anti-GE day on April 8 with associates from organic farming groups such as Aaramba, Bhoomitayia Balaga, Nesara, Nisarga, Jeevamruta and Mysore Grahakara Parishat.
Speaking to City Herald, Kadavinakote Ramachandra, one of the prominent members of SAGE-SAMVADA, says its mission is to work for a city (and its surrounding areas) free of GM contamination both in its food and agricultural practices.
“This is being done on firm democratic foundations of free discussion, debate, interaction and consultative meetings,” he elaborates.
Lecture sessions by experts on GE and GMO followed by interactive sessions, showing of documentary films and road shows are also part of this activity.
Earlier activities included a lecture on ‘Health Impacts of GM Food’ by Dr Shiv Chopra, an Indian Canadian Scientist, who also authored ‘Corrupt to the core’. He was the first to blow whistle on rBGH, a variety of BT cotton.
At Institution of Engineers, a memorandum was handed to the mayor of Mysore appealing to declare Mysore as ‘Heritage city, GMO free city.’ In a more solid action against BT cotton, farmers of HD Kote taluk assisted by SAGE have filed writ of Mandamus in the High Court of Karnataka praying for a mandate to the agriculture authorities and seed corporation to supply traditional and healthy cotton seeds.