Recently I blogged about the fact that at an official level at least, India seems to have bitten into the GMO apple. More recently, the USA and India have concluded negotiations for joint space missions between the two countries, including some Martian efforts. From where I sit, this looks like more attempts by the West to attempt to pry India out of the BRICSA bloc, a point driven home by the fact that of all the BRICSA nations, India has been the most welcoming to GMO crops.
But there's an ugly side to this story, one that gets little attention in the lamestream media of the West: Indian farmers have been committing suicide in their hundreds, as their nations agriculture is consolidated into the hands of agribusiness giants, and their small family farms disappear.
However, there is finally some hopeful signs of pushback:
You'll note that the article calls into question the corporately controlled spin being placed on the story of Indian farmer suicides:
"The National Post, in its article, “The myth of India’s ‘GM genocide’: Genetically modified cotton blamed for wave of farmer suicides,” admits that:
A 2011 report published by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) claimed the sale of expensive genetically modified seeds to rural Indian farmers was a key factor contributing to the growing suicide crisis.
“Multinational agribusiness corporations took advantage of India’s new market globalization … by aggressively promoting the introduction of genetically modified seeds in Indian agriculture,” said the report.
But then counters by claiming:
But in 2008, the International Food Policy Research Institute, an alliance of 64 governments, private foundations, and international and regional organizations that aims to end hunger in the developing world, reached an entirely different conclusion.
“It is not only inaccurate, but simply wrong to blame the use of Bt cotton as the primary cause of farmer suicides in India,” said the report, stating that the introduction of Bt cotton in India had actually been effective in producing higher yields and decreasing pesticide usage by nearly 40%.
The credibility and objectivity of the “International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPR),” particularly in regards to the use of Bt cotton in India, is compromised by the fact that its donors list is dominated by organizations of which Monsanto and other GMO purveyors fund directly.
For example, the “Better Cotton Initiative” which funds the IFPR is in turn backed by big-agri giant Cargill. Another IFPR donor is Crop Life International, which in turn is funded by BASF, Bayer, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto, Syngenta, and others. The laundering of big-agri cash and support through proxy organizations to conceal their involvement only further raises suspicion regarding the integrity and veracity of the IFPR’s contradictory report – a report that just so happens to define reality in terms that suits big business." (All emphases in the original)
We've seen this behavior before, and it is a signal of the profound lack of any spiritual or human values in the agribusiness giants, for human lives and tragedies are being "explained", or rather, explained away, in self-serving justifications for their narcissistic corporate sense of entitlement. On a lesser scale of importance, but important nonetheless, is once again this behavior is being used to corrupt science itself, to corrupt the truth itself, while spinning a web of unreality around the whole story.
That's how toxic and poisonous the issue has become.
But India's farmers have had enough, and are beginning to fight back against the monstrous practice of these corporations and their reckless assault on natural biodiversity, and the natural seeds that have been through careful agronomical practice, cultivated over centuries:
" The above mentioned farmers’ wishlist is just one of many direct actions being pursued by grassroots activists across India. The growing backlash against big-agri is what necessitates the elaborate and expensive deceptions Monsanto and others in big-agri have found themselves increasingly dependent on for increasingly tenuous results.
"Events like New Delhi’s “National Seeds Festival” raise awareness of the already existent biodiversity found across India and facilitate networking between organic farmers. The Hindu reported in its article, “Sovereign seeds showcase unique biodiversity,” that:
'The farmers announced the formation of a National Seed Savers Forum to strengthen conservation and breeding. They plan to impress upon the government the need to promote diversity conservation and prevent bio-piracy and corporate monopolisation.
"It also added:
'Dr. Deb said indigenous farmers have paddy varieties that are rich in Vitamin B, but the government ignores them and goes for the GM Golden rice variety being developed by Monsanto. He lamented that nutritious foods, crops and millets are being allowed to disappear.
“'We have displayed the richness of India’s biodiversity and seed sovereignty here in the city so that the urban class can appreciate what we have and understand what we stand to lose,” said Kavitha Kuruganti of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture. “Millets,” she said, “were wiped out because the government is promoting cereals.”
"Like elsewhere, organic farmers realize that the government has been, and most likely always will be bent to the will of both domestic and foreign corporate-financier special interests. Getting organized and engaging in increasing degrees of direct action is the only way to influence public perception and protect both their own livelihoods as well as the genetic heritage of their nation’s agricultural resources."(Boldface emphasis added, all other emphases in the original)
In other words, farmers in India have started to utilize their freedoms to start their own seed banks of heirloom seeds. We can, of course, expect the inevitable corporate backlash against this, as they will seek laws making this either illegal, or through the imposition of fees, financially unprofitable. In doing so, they will only expose their own unjustified entitlement and corruption even more. With falling yields evident in GMO crops, increased use of pesticides to make them profitable, it is perhaps time to reexamine their whole track record of performance and more importantly, the mercentilist privileges that surround the purveyors of GMOs.
This comes at a time when the agribusiness sharks have begun to feed off each other, initiating lawsuits against each other... but that's another story for another day.
For the moment, take note: India's farmers are beginning to fight back. And for that, we can all be grateful.
See you on the flip side...
(My thanks to Mr. M.D. for sharing this important article)