GMO news related to India

20.01.2018 |

Modi Govt Being Blackmailed by MNCs on GM Crops, Say RSS-Linked Farmers' Unions

New Delhi: RSS-affiliated farmers' unions Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) have termed Mayhco Monsanto Biotech’s (MMB) letter to the government on Bt Cotton seeds as an attempt to 'blackmail', pressurise the government.

MMB had written to the Centre terming the National Seeds Association’s threat to stop the sale of Bolllgard 11 seeds as ‘irresponsible’ and against farmer’s interest.

"It is an attempt to coerce the key stakeholders and create a crisis for farmers," the company said.

In response, BKS' general secretary Mohini Mohan said, “The government is under pressure from these MNCs. For years they have been failing the tests yet they have stayed on. Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, which is the regulatory body has failed to curb them.”

Mohan further alleges that Bollgard I had failed in 2005, which was followed by Bollgard II’s failure in 2009. “The MNC came up with Herbicide tolerant seed, which lead to farmer suicides in Yavatmal, Maharashtra. Around 80 farmers have died. Monsanto is blackmailing the government, which is under pressure from these lobbies,” he said.

“Monsanto should go back, as it is important for seed sovereignty. We can produce our own seeds like we did in the past. There is no need to have the domination of a few seeds. The Bollgard XI continues without any call-back from authorities,” Mohan alleges.

20.01.2018 |

Dr Vandana Shiva submits objection to Bayer-Monsanto Merger

Press Statement - Monsanto is pretending to have sold business to a four year old company Tierra Agrotech with a paid up capital of 1 lakh rupees. This needs urgent investigation: Dr Vandana Shiva

New Delhi, January 20, 2018: Raising objections to the proposed merger between Monsanto and Bayer, Dr Vandana Shiva on Saturday submitted her comments and objections to the Competition Commission of India through an email and courier.

Bayer-Monsanto merger if comes through will be the largest cash acquisition. It is pegged at USD 66 Billion. Not only will it have a huge impact on the agri-business of the Europe and United States, but will have consequences globally for farmers and citizens. The proposed merger is perhaps one of the biggest convergences of agribusiness and pharmaceuticals which will adversely affect competition and free trade not only in India but the world.

Speaking in this context Dr. Shiva said:”The Bayer Monsanto merger is not arithmetic issue of economic concentration. It is a political issue. If the mergers go through, it will be spelling the end of peoples’ rights, democracy and constitutional safeguards. In 20 years time Monsanto has illegally captured the cotton seed sector violating biosafety laws and corrupting regulatory agencies.”

She said, “Indian farmers have suffered for Monsanto’s profits and their Bt cotton has left a legacy of poison and death all over the cotton belts of India. Bt cotton which claimed to control pest has failed and now farmers are also dying because of pesticide poisoning.”

08.01.2018 |

GMOs, Global Agribusiness And The Destruction of Choice

One of the myths perpetuated by the pro-GMO (genetically modified organisms) lobby is that critics of GMOs in agriculture are denying choice to farmers and have an ideological agenda. The narrative is that farmers should have access to a range of tools and technologies, including GM crops.

(.....)

It is convenient to paint critics of GMOs as being authoritarian and possessing an ideological agenda. Whether it is Bayer, Monsanto or one of the other major agritech/agribusiness concerns, the real agenda is clear: elite commercial interests and the maximisation of profit for shareholders are the driving forces behind GM agriculture.

Critics of GMOs and transnational corporations did not have a leading role in drafting the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights to create seed monopolies. Monsanto did. Critics did not write the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. The global food processing industry had a leading role in that (see this). Whether it involves Codex, the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture aimed at restructuring Indian agriculture or the proposed US-EU trade deal (TTIP), the powerful agribusiness/food lobby has secured privileged access to policy makers.

From the World Bank’s ‘enabling the business of agriculture’ to the Gates Foundation’s role in opening up African agriculture to the global food and agribusiness oligopolies, democratic procedures at sovereign state levels have been bypassed to impose seed monopolies and proprietary inputs on farmers and to incorporate them into a global supply chain dominated by powerful corporations.

From the destruction of indigenous agriculture in Ethiopia to the ongoing dismantling of Indian agriculture at the behest of transnational agribusiness, where is the ‘choice’?

14.12.2017 |

Glyphosate toxicity for animals

Pesticides and herbicides gained popularity due to a strong need to curb the starvation of billions of humans. Glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide and was considered to be non-toxic. But its use in excess in agricultural lands has polluted soils and waters. Nowadays, glyphosate residues are found in soil, water and food. As a result glyphosate causes severe acute and chronic toxicological effects. We review toxicological effects of glyphosate and metabolites on organisms of the kingdom animalia, both unicellular and multicellular organisms. Adverse effects on unicellular organisms have been established in many experiments. For instance, glyphosate has reduced the rate of photosynthesis in Euglena, has decreased the radial growth of mycorrhizal fungal species and is also reducing the profusion of certain bacteria present in rhizospheric microbial communities. Glyphosate poses serious threat to multicellular organisms as well. Its toxicological effects have been traced from lower invertebrates to higher vertebrates. Effects have been observed in annelids (earthworms), arthropods (crustaceans and insects), mollusks, echinoderms, fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Toxicological effects like genotoxicity, cytotoxicity, nuclear aberration, hormonal disruption, chromosomal aberrations and DNA damage have also been observed in higher vertebrates like humans.

12.12.2017 |

Native seeds are key to food security

For better agricultural performance, focus must be on inculcating better farming practices. Farmers must be encouraged to return to zero-budget farming, where they use their own desi seeds

In recent years, enlightened Indian farmers have begun to rethink the suitability of farming practices that involve injecting poison into the earth via fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides, and create problems of soil fertility, soil texture, soil preservation and erosion. There is a pervasive sentiment that unless the current system of intensive and uncontrolled use of chemical inputs is reversed, soil quality will worsen and our centuries-old agricultural biodiversity will be lost forever.

Chemical inputs have permeated our food-chain with deleterious impact on public health, which have not been adequately studied scientifically. But the cumulative loss due to growing expenditure on public health, insecticide resistance, crop-loss, bird-loss, pollution of ground water and pollinator decline runs into billions of dollars.

25.10.2017 |

Goodbye to Golden Rice? GM Trait Leads to Drastic Yield Loss and “Metabolic Meltdown”

GMO Golden Rice is promoted as a potent tool to alleviate vitamin A deficiency. However, Indian researchers now report that the genes needed to produce it have unintended effects. When they introduced the engineered DNA, their high-yielding and agronomically superior Indian rice variety became pale and stunted, flowering was delayed and the roots grew abnormally. Yields were so reduced that it was unsuitable for cultivation (Bollinedi et al. 2017).

28.09.2017 |

End commercial release of new Bt cotton seeds

The Maharashtra government has asked the Centre to reverse its nod for the commercial release of genetically modified (Bt) cotton seeds grown using Bollgard II (BG-2) technology. The State claimed that the seeds lost their ability to fight diseases and reduced crop productivity.

30.08.2017 |

Experts: Bt cotton no longer resistant to bollworm

Nagpur: Incidents of pink bollworm attack on Bt cotton this year again have alarmed the agriculture authorities. The state agriculture commissioner has taken up the matter with the Union government and has even suggested reconsideration of approval given to genetically modified Bt cotton seeds that are supposed to be resistant to bollworm and other infestations.

The chief of Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swavalamban Mission (the state government task force to deal with farm distress) Kishore Tiwari has claimed this year the situation could be worse as it is found that the Bt cotton seeds were now susceptible to attack of not only pink worm, but also thips , mealybug and regular bollworm. With over 40 lakh hectares under cotton cultivation, Maharashtra has largest area of cotton crop in the country.

The state agriculture commissioner S Kendrekar is believed to have apprised deputy director (quality control) of Union agriculture ministry on August 1 about the situation. According to him, last year too incidents of pink worm attacks were reported and confirmed by various government agencies and experts of city-based Central Institute of Cotton Research. Following that, ban was imposed on seeds of one company that had licence from Monsanto, the multinational that pioneered and introduced genetically altered Bt Cotton seeds under brand names BG I and later BG II.

14.07.2017 |

Traditional mustard output adequate, don’t need GM mustard

New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Rajasthan, India’s top mustard producing state on Friday, expressed its reservations over commercial introduction of Genetically Modified (GM) variety of mustard, saying output from the traditional varieties was adequate.

Rajasthan’s Agriculture Minister Prabhu Lal Saini said it did not want to be dependent on any company for seeds.

“Production of mustard is quite good in our state. We are getting 32-33 quintals per hectare from the traditional varieties and oil content (recovery) is also between 40-42 per cent. The output from the traditional varieties is adequate and it is highly nutritious. Then why do we need GM seeds? We do not want to disturb our parental seeds,” Saini told reporters here.

27.05.2017 |

Centre told to act against genetically modified sorghum

As to the issue of sorghum itself, there is absolutely no reason to believe that it needs GM protection.

Hyderabad: Expressing its shock at the Indian Institute of Millet Research in Hyderabad, developing transgenic sorghum (jowar), the Southern Action on Genetic Engineering has called on the Union Government to take a firm and unequivocal stand against GM (genetically modified) sorghum and to declare that it will not approve GM sorghum.

Southern Action on Genetic Engineering (SAGE) is a coalition of farmers, scientists, environmental activists and civil society groups from South India. “This would have been funny if it was not so tragic,” SAGE said in a letter to the Union Minister for Environment and Forests. Sorghum (jowar) is a crop that offers complete food and nutritional security to the populations of dry land India and rich fodder for its cattle, the letter said.

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