Yesterday I blogged about a scenario I speculated about in last Thursday’s News and Views from the Nefarium, namely, that it appears President Putin of Russia is using the Western sanctions as a crisis of opportunity to forge a BRICSA bloc agricultural trade zone, and through that perhaps, to start negotiation on a set of agricultural standards in the BRICSA bloc for agricultural products. Since anti-GMO statements and bans have been made both in Russia and in China, it appears – so I argued – that the steps were being deliberately taken for some sort of wider BRICSA policy.
The fly in this analytical and speculative ointment is India:
As the article clearly outlines, the same old mercantilist tactics are being employed in that country by Western agribusiness: corporate “sponsorships” of funds, agencies, conferences, and so on, to hollow out the bureaucracies of that nation and position GMO-friendly personnel into management and policy-making positions. In short, that nation is being subjected to the bought-and-paid for scientism of corporate-s[ponsored "peer review," and as a result, India's small farmers are suffering, and for that matter, dying.
There has been pushback, however, within India as elsewhere:
"In the meantime, Monsanto and the GM biotech sector forward the myth that GM food is necessary to feed the world’s burgeoning population. They are not. Aside from the review by GRAIN, the World Bank-funded International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge and Science for Development Report stated that smallholder, traditional farming (not GMOs) can deliver food security in low-income countries through sustainable agri-ecological systems .
“The Standing Committee on Agriculture in Parliament unequivocally concluded that GM seeds and foods are dangerous to human, animal and environmental health and directed the former Government of Manmohan Singh to ban GMOs . Despite such evidence and the recommendations to put a hold on open field GM trials by the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee, the push is on within official circles to give such trials the green light.”
The article suggests a plausible scenario for how this came about:
“In India, there is a drive to remove small/family farms, which are capable of ensuring the nation’s food security, and eventually replace them with larger biotech-controlled monoculture farms with GM crops for Western styled processed-food supermarkets and export . It is no surprise that the likes of Syngenta, Monsanto and Walmart had a direct hand in drawing up the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture, which was in turn linked to the US sanctioning the opening up of India’s nuclear power sector.
“Despite India not being a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, US corporations are now actively involved in helping India develop its civil nuclear capabilities. Payback appears to come in the form of handing over the control of India’s agricultural land and food system to the US via that country’s biotech companies.”
There are two ways forward here: India can either remain in the BRICSA bloc, and eventually accept whatever agricultural standards as might be negotiated by that bloc, or it can become an increasingly marginalized and mistrusted member of that bloc due to subservience to western agribusiness interests. It can adopt a policy of support for small farmers, and the possibility of a rich BRICSA-bloc market for agricultural exports, or go along with “nuclear deals” from the West (which it certainly doesn’t need).
However this might fall out, India constituted the a contra-indicator to my speculation that the BRICSA bloc may be setting the stage to use anti-GMO opinion in the world as a geopolitical issue, so India is one country to watch quite closely.
See you on the flip side…