Mr Modi, remember your promise and say no to GM crops

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by sasi, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    Last year when Narendra Modi led the BJP to a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha election, the country looked at him with great hope. After all, the decade of decay under the Congress-led UPA government had almost pushed the citizens of the country to the brink.-
    We saw the anger against corruption and misgovernance pouring out on the streets during Anna Hazare’s campaign in 2011.
    One of the reasons I voted for Modi was hisparty’s-pre-poll promise of not allowing genetically modified crops in India.
    The BJP manifesto said GM food would not be allowed“without full scientific evaluation”, but the party seems to have forgotten the promise. GM food isabout to be introduced even though most of the questions regarding GM crops and food remain unanswered.
    I have raised concerns about allowing GM crops in India in my tweets.
    Without repeating the concerns I have expressed time and again, I would just like to point out a few things that our beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi may like to know if he doesn’t already.
    How does it serve our nation and its farmers to depend upon one or more foreign companies for seeds — crop cycle after crop cycle, year after year? I hope the Prime Minister knows that our farmers often pawn their land as collateral for loans taken to buy seeds. Companies like Monsanto keep coming up with newer versions of seeds, and every time that happens, the cost of the seeds goes up. This makes the farmer fall into a vicious debt trap that he escapes only by killing himself.
    The single-largest factor for farmer suicides in India by a long margin is crop failure followed by debt — debt that the farmer takes to buy seeds. When his crop fails, or gives less-than-expected yield, the farmer is doomed.
    This is just one dark side of introducing GM crops in India.
    There are other dark sides to GM crops. One of them is that GM crops require more water and more pesticides — pesticides made and patented by the same companies that make the GM seeds or their subsidiaries! And, not just during droughts, GM crops have failed when we have had good monsoon rains.
    India allowed Monsanto to sellBt cotton seeds about a decade ago after intense lobbying and arm-twisting by the western countries, evangelists and professional saboteurs in the UPA government. Soon, 95 per cent of the cotton farmers started using Monsanto’s Bt cotton seeds. According to National Crime Records Bureau data,nearly 300,000 farmers have committed suicide in India from 1995 to 2012. The top reasons driving farmers to kill themselves are as follows:
    1.Crop failure: 16.81%
    2.Debt burden: 5.3%
    3.Price crash: 2.65%
    4.Borewell failure: 1%
    (Source:Arvind Panagariya’s-“India: The Emerging Giant” page 153)
    A closer look would reveal that reasons 1, 2 and 4 can be linked to GM seeds. Borewell failure too? Yes, GM crops need more water resulting in depletion of the groundwater reserves. That’s when the need to dig deeper arises, and that’s when the farmer takes loan to get new borewells dug. One in 100 farmer suicides is a result of this.
    Let’s now look at other hazards of GM crops and produce than farmer woes.
    There are several grey areas regarding the impact of GM food on health. Multinational companies like Monsanto are not forthcoming with honest answers. If Bt in GM food can kill pests, it can have health hazards for human beings too. The Institute of Responsible Technology lists65 health risks connected to GM crops. It lists some alarming findings. No“scientific” study has negated these findings.
    Among many other things, it found agricultural labourers who picked or loaded Bt cotton reported reactions to the skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract.-Some labourers required hospitalization. Employees at a cotton gin factory take antihistamines every day.
    Also, after the cotton harvest in parts of India, flocks of sheep grazed continuously on Bt cotton plants.-Reports from four villages revealed that about 25 per cent of the sheep died within a week.-Postmortem studies suggested a toxic reaction as the cause of those deaths.
    Not only that, rats that were fed Bt potato suffered intestinal bleeding. Many of them died. The report says“similar damage to the human small intestine might result in incontinence or flu-like symptoms, and may be precancerous.”
    Therefore, this study overturns the assumptions that Bt toxin is destroyed during digestion and is not biologically active in mammals.
    GM crops are designed to kill insects. Not only do they kill the bad insects, but they also kill the good insects like bees, which are critical for life on this planet. They help in pollination which sustains the plant kingdom. If pollination stops, the plant kingdom will die, and in turn all animals on earth will perish.
     
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  3. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    Also,in an essay on Centre for Research on Globalization, Brit Amos argues:
    Genetically modified-seeds are produced and distributed by powerful biotech conglomerates. The latter manipulate government agricultural policy with a view to supporting their agenda of dominance in the agricultural industry.-American conglomerates such as Monsanto, Pioneer Hybrid-and others, have created seeds that-reproduce only under certain conditions, often linked to the use of their own brands of fertilizer and/or insecticide.---
    --
    The genetic modification of the plant leads to-the concurrent genetic modification of the flower pollen.-When the flower pollen becomes genetically modified or sterile,-the bees will potentially-go malnourished and die-of illness due to the lack of nutrients and the interruption of the digestive capacity of what they feed on through the summer and over the winter hibernation process.-
    A small group ofbeekeepers in Mexico’s Yucatan celebrated when a judge overturned a permit issued to Monsanto by the Mexico government-and an environmental protection agency,Semarnat, in June 2012, that allowed commercial planting ofRoundup-ready GMsoyabean.
    Is our government even thinking along these lines? Who is giving Modi advice on the environmental damage GM crops may potentially cause?
    Now, let’s discuss how Monsanto was allowed to enter India. You will know that GM seeds are more than just about crops and farming and the control of the agriculture sector by new-age imperialists.
    The World Bank forced India to accept its seed policy in 1988. This coerced India to deregulate the seed sector. Noted environmentalistVandana Shivawrites:
    Five things changed with Monsanto’s entry: First, Indian companies were locked into joint-ventures and licensing arrangements, and concentration over the seed sector increased. Second, seed which had been the farmers’ common resource became the “intellectual property” of Monsanto, for which it started collecting royalties, thus raising the costs of seed. Third, open pollinated cotton seeds were displaced by hybrids, including GMO hybrids. A renewable resource became a non-renewable, patented commodity. Fourth, cotton which had earlier been grown as a mixture with food crops now had to be grown as a monoculture, with higher vulnerability to pests, disease, drought and crop failure. Fifth, Monsanto started to subvert India’s regulatory processes and, in fact, started to use public resources to push its non-renewable hybrids and GMOs through so-called public-private partnerships.
    “… A renewable resource became a non-renewable, patented commodity.”-Yes, indeed!
    New-age western imperialists are using GM seeds to control countries. After invading and occupying Iraq, the US-planted administrator of the countryPaul Bremer-issued 100 orders designed to rob the country completely and to keep it perpetually enslaved.Order 81-particularly deals with the country’s agriculture sector and farmers. It turns Iraq into a food consumer from food producer.
    It deprives Iraqi farmers of their right to save and plant seeds, a right as old as 10,000 years. It puts the entire Iraqi agriculture sector in the hands of companies like Monsanto.-Iraq is now a naked country without any food security.
    We must not forget that India is an agriculture-dependent country. The success or failure of the monsoon determine our entire economy. Why give the control of such a critical sector in the hands of foreign countries?
    India, if it has to depend on those companies for seeds, will find itself in a very precarious position if western sanctions are imposed on it for some reason. Then, it will be left with no seeds, and no crops to feed its population of 1.25 billion.
    Can the Prime Minister guarantee that GM seeds are not a part of military tactics against countries by the US-led west?
    Union environment minister Prakash Javadekarrecently said there is no scientific evidence to show GM foods are harmful and countries all over the world consume GM produce.
    Mr Javadekar, can you please name those countries where western biotech companies are the players in their farm sector? If you can name them, I can then show you that they are just vassal countries of the west.
    People around the world, including India, are wary of GM crops and produce. A December 2013 article in Economistreports that in China, GM crops have taken a huge political hue alongside food safety concerns following caseslike this.
    It says:
    Chinese anti-GM activists often describe their cause as patriotic, aimed not just at avoiding what they regard as the potential harm of tinkering with nature, but at resisting control of China’s food supply by America through American-owned biotech companies and their superior technology. Conspiracy theories about supposed American plots to use dodgy GM food to weaken China abound online.
     
  4. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    “Resisting GM crops is patriotic.” Yes, indeed.
    Many European countries like France have not allowed US companies like Monsanto to enter their markets. Even in the US, the home of GM behemoths like Monsanto, there is a rapidly growingmovement against GM organisms.
    Modi is nowpushing hard for a“second green revolution” through GM food. Punjab, the shining example of the original“green revolution”, is paying the price of going full throttle with GM food. The pesticides used for GM crops contaminated the groundwater resulting in the state taking up theNo. 1 spot in per capita cancer cases in India. Where is the hard evidence reviewed by independent researchers to back GM food as harmless and nutritious food?
    Our Narendra Modi-led government must know that it came to power riding on an upsurge of nationalist sentiments where Modi’s“India First” slogan became the catchword of the election campaign. It will pay Modi to remember that the nation will never forgive the leader who surrenders its sovereignty to neo-imperialists.

    Mr Modi, remember your promise and say no to GM crops |
     
  5. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    False Claims and Flawed Conclusions Being Used to Push GM Crops into India

    Writing in India’s Deccan Herald newspaper on 26 January 2016, Kalyan Ray places great store in a flawed year-old British Parliament document to promote a pro-GM agenda. According to Ray, the document ‘Advanced Genetic Techniquesfor Crop Improvement: Regulation, risks and precaution’ from the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee reflects several arguments in favour of GM crops that certain Indian scientists have been voicing for years.

    He asserts that the weight of peer-reviewed scientific evidence has shown the EU-adopted ‘precautionary principle’ towards GM to be misguided. In his view, where genetically modified crops have been shown to pose a risk, this has invariably been a result of the trait displayed — for example, herbicide tolerance — rather than the technology itself. Ray adds that no inherent risks have so far been identified to human or animal health from this consumption or to the environment from their cultivation.

    Rays seems to concur with the report’s conclusion that Europe’s precautionary GMO regulation is preventing the adoption of GM crops in the UK, Europe and the developing world.

    He says:

    “Worldwide, over 175 million hectares are dedicated to GM crop, accounting for 12 per cent of arable land. No inherent risks have so far been identified to human or animal health from this consumption or to the environment from their cultivation.”

    Implicit in this claim is a common tactic: the industry does not have to prove safety (in its view), but now GM has been fraudulently (see Steven Druker’s book) released onto the market, the onus is placed on everyone else to prove it is unsafe - regardless of the fact that clear, serious safety issues were downplayed or silenced back in the 1990s when GM was being forced onto the US public (again, see Druker).

    Moreover, the implication of the above quote is that farmers are freely choosing to plant GM. This is based more on free-market ideology than actual fact. Aside from employing coercive tactics to try to get GM into countries, the closing off of alternatives plays a major role in influencing adoption of certain technology (see this for how the Gates Foundation is supporting agro dealer networks to push chemical intensive agriculture in Africa, this on Bt cotton in India and this on Monsanto’s game plan in Ukraine).

    Ray’s claim about GM technology not posing unique risks to health or the environment is not only wrong (for example, see this and this), but any implications derived from this claim that GM is no different from conventional breeding techniques is also incorrect and needs to be challenged. Furthermore, it is conventional breeding techniques that are delivering on the promises that GM has thus far failed to deliver on (see page 8 of this document) and which the GM industry often attempts to pass off as its own successes.

    However, Ray’s biggest mistake is relying on a seriously flawed report to try to make a case for GM.

    “Shocking ignorance” being use to promote GM

    Dr Rupert Read, reader in philosophy at the University of East Anglia, condemned the report’s “shocking ignorance of scientific logic and the nature of risk” and said it confused “inconclusive evidence of harm from GMOs with conclusive evidence of safety.” The prominent risk expert Nassim Nicholas Taleb called the report “an insult to science.”

    The Select Committee report claims that scientific evidence supporting the safety of genetically modified crops is very strong. But, as Claire Robinson from GMWatch says, the evidence cited is the EU Commission report, ‘A decade of EU-funded GMO research’. Although this EU report did conclude that GMOs were “not, per se, more risky than… conventional plant breeding technologies,” she argues it is a baseless conclusion because it presents no data that could provide evidence to support that conclusion – for example, from long-term feeding studies in animals.

    Robinson notes that of the small handful of animal feeding studies carried out under the project, none tested a commercialised GM food; none tested the GM food for long-term effects; all found worrying differences in the GM-fed animals, including alterations in blood biochemistry and immune responses; and none were able to conclude on the safety of the GM food tested, let alone on the safety of GM foods in general. Indeed, the purpose of the EU report was not to test any GMO food for safety but to focus on developing safety assessment “approaches.”

    The resulting report provides only a few references to published papers, which are listed randomly on some pages, with no clue provided as to which of the report’s claims they are supposed to support.

    What’s more, the Select Committee displays an uncritical reliance on a published meta-analysis by Klümper and Qaim, which claims that GM crops have “reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%.”

    This meta-analysis is being widely cited by lobbyists who want to push Europe down the GMO path, according to Robinson. But it relies on outdated data from the early 2000s – before herbicide-resistant superweeds and Bt resistant pests made GM herbicide-tolerant and Bt insecticidal traits less effective and caused higher costs and inconvenience to farmers. Charles Benbrook’s analysis is based on more up-to-date USDA data and shows that GM crops in North America have increased overall pesticide use by 7%.

    Robinson further notes that Klümper and Qaim’s meta-analysis also ignores the fact that Bt crops are in themselves pesticides, with the total pesticide content in the plants’ cells often being many times greater than the volume of chemical spray pesticides that are supposed to be replaced. Also, the Bt toxins in GM crops are not the same as the natural Bt long used as an insecticide spray by organic and conventional farmers – they are structurally different and have a different mode of action, which could explain why they have been found to be toxic to non-target insects and mammals in some studies.

    Regarding yields, Klümper and Qaim’s meta-analysis uses suspect data collected from Monsanto field trials. The real picture on GMO yields comes from a study published in 2013 by Jack Heinemann and his team. It looked at 50 years’ worth of data from the US and Europe, before and after GM was introduced in the US. It found that yields for staple crops in the US – which are largely GM – have declined since GM has been adopted, and are lagging behind those of Europe, where production is mostly non-GM. Europe also uses less pesticides.

    GM traits do not confer higher yields but tolerance to herbicides or an insecticidal toxin trait. A high-yielding GM crop is a crop with high-yielding background genetics achieved by conventional breeding, into which GM traits for herbicide tolerance or insecticidal proteins have been inserted.

    In conclusion, Robinson states that the Select Committee relies on outdated and discredited data to paint a fantasy picture of the success of GM crops, while ignoring more up-to-date and relevant data that threaten that picture.

    GM unwanted and not needed in India

    According to Kalyan Ray, good risk management requires the potential benefits of an action to be thoroughly considered alongside the risks. It also requires a consideration of the risk of failing to act. He implies that hold-ups in allowing GM crops into India is preventing Indian agriculture from progressing.

    In what way is India’s agriculture not progressing one might wonder. Indian farmers already produce bumper harvests (despite policies that make it difficult to operate and cause them economic distress), have achieved self-sufficiency in a number of food staples and use traditional, indigenous varieties of crops that seem to be more resilient in the face of pest management or climate change.

    Ray quotes the UK Select Committee report that says:

    “We are convinced by the evidence provided to us that this suite of technologies is a potentially important tool, particularly in the developing world, which should not be rejected unless there are solid scientific evidence those technologies may cause harm.”

    Of course, the report’s opinion is in sharp contrast to report after report recommending support for conventional agriculture, agroecology and local economies, especially in the global south. Critics of GM therefore want to know where is the advantage in India adopting GM and why the government is experimenting given all the attendant risks.

    To make the case for non-GM agriculture, campaigner Aruna Rodrigues cites the World Bank-funded International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge and Science for Development Report, which India signed in 2008. That report is the work of over 400 scientists, took four years to complete and was twice peer reviewed. The report states we must look to small-holder, traditional farming (not GMOs) to deliver food security in the global south through agri-ecological systems which are sustainable.

    Despite this, based on a flawed UK select committee report, Ray advocates regulatory reforms to smooth the entry of GM to India are essential.

    There is a credible body of evidence that GMOs were placed on the US market due to fraud and the bypassing of scientific procedures and ignoring evidence pertaining to risk, as described in Steven Druker’s book ‘Altered Genes, Twisted Truth’. It thus might appear strange that someone would rely on a seriously questionable report to try to make a case for GM, especially when a series of official reports in India have come out against the introduction of GM to India: the ‘Jairam Ramesh Report’ of February 2010, imposing an indefinite moratorium on Bt Brinjal, overturning the apex Regulator’s approval to commercialise it; the Sopory Committee Report (August 2012); the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) Report on GM crops (August 2012) and the TEC Final Report (June-July 2013).

    What supporters of GM technology like to ignore is that it is an extension of the overhyped ‘green revolution’, which has arguably been a disaster for India (see Bhaskar Save’s views and Raj Patel’s analysis). They also like to overlook the fact there is no scientific consensus on the safety or efficacy GM (contrary to the much-publicised pro-GM public relations machine that claims otherwise).

    But while side-lining these concerns, they like to promote GM as the answer to hunger. But, as Viva Kermani says:

    “When our people go hungry, or suffer from malnutrition, it is because their right to safe and nutritious food that is culturally connected is blocked. That is why it is not a technological fix problem and GM has no place in it.”

    Too often, supporters of GM promote the technology as a proxy for deep-seated social, political and economic factors that are responsible for poverty and hunger.

    What they also choose to sideline is false claims concerning yields pertaining to GM mustard (any improvement in yield is due to hybridisation, not GM technology), which could soon be the first food crop to be officially sanctioned in India. They also put forward fallacious justifications for embracing GM mustard (to reduce over-reliance on imports) that conveniently ignore the impact of trade policies that seriously undermined the indigenous mustard industry and India’s inability to attain self-sufficiency in this foodstuff.

    If we want science and objectivity to guide us where GM is concerned, surely it would be best to adhere to proper procedures that are open and transparent rather than engage in “unremitting fraud” and secrecy in order to force GM onto the commercial market in India And surely it would be better to root out and call to account the conflicts of interest that are fuelling the pro-GM agenda in India.

    When so much faith is placed in a patently flawed report to make a case for smoothing the progress of GM in India, are we to conclude that what we are reading is just an example of poorly researched journalism?

    Or should we conclude what we see is a case of more pro-GM spin?

    The original source of this article is Global Research
    Copyright © Colin Todhunter, Global Research, 2016

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/false-...eing-used-to-push-gm-crops-into-india/5503798
     
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  6. Bahamut

    Bahamut Senior Member Senior Member

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    GMO technology is not mature enough .They are not good for us in long run. Sustainable farming be the goal with least use of chemicals.
     
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  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    There has been no government studies done to test if long term gm crops are safe . These greedy corporations are going to cause a disaster of epic proportions never before seen . I will post a video for people interested in learning more.


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  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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