Monsanto stooge supports GM crops
2.Sharad Joshi – a profile
EXTRACT: ...although Shetkari Sanghatna and KCC are presented as 'mainstream' farmers' movements, in reality Joshi and his organisations have had an increasingly small constituency and typically represent only large local landowners growing cash crops, rather than India's numerous subsistence farmers. Despite this tiny following, Joshi is a Member of the Advisory Board of the Monsanto-backed World Agricultural Forum (WAF), in St. Louis, USA. (item 2)
1.Sharad Joshi supports Bt cotton
Times of India, March 14th 2012
NAGPUR: The battle is heating up between the pro- and anti-Bt cotton lobbies among farm activists. A fortnight after the parliamentary committee on agriculture visited the region to assess impact of use of genetically modified seeds, manufacturers of Bt cotton seeds have pitched veteran farm leader Sharad Joshi to plead their case.
He also plans to file a PIL against government for banning cotton exports, calling the decision to lift the embargo partially an eye wash.
The committee toured the country on the directions of Lok Sabha speaker and went back with largely negative feedback about the genetically modified BT cotton seed from Vidarbha. Joshi, the founder of Shetkari Sanghatana, along with Association of Bt-Led Enterprise (ABLE), an organization backed by companies making Bt seeds including US-based Monsanto, slammed the farm activists who opposed its use at a press conference here on Tuesday.
He accused Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) of serving vested interests, hinting towards the chemical pesticides industry. Joshi and ABLE claim that use of Bt cotton substantially reduces dependence on pesticides. VJAS and others say it has only increased the cost of cultivation leading to indebtedness of the farmers. Representatives of ABLE included Dr C D Mayee, former director of Nagpur-based Centre for Indian Cotton Research ( CICR).
The Sanghatana has written to PMO as well as Lok Sabha speaker quoting Mayee and executive director of ABLE Dr N Seetharama that a wrong picture of region's agriculture scene was portrayed before the committee. "Farm suicides are being wrongly linked with the use of Bt cotton. The seed has only helped improve the farmers' condition with high yields. The farm crisis is due to low rates given to cotton," said Joshi. He was accompanied by a handful of farmers supporting his claim.
None of the farmers was from the two villages of Yavatmal district– Bhamraja and Maregaon– where the committee got a substantial feedback against the Bt seeds. The gram panchayat in Bhamraja passed a resolution against the use of Bt seeds. On this Joshi said, the committee had no business coming to Yavatmal on the request of Tiwari. "They should have relied on an invitation by a member of parliament. Moreover, the panel has committed a breach of privilege by linking farmers' suicides with use of Bt seeds even before the report was tabled in parliament," he said.
Joshi said Tiwari had been only propagating regressive agriculture practices. One of the farmers accompanying Joshi pointed out that Tiwari himself has grown Bt cotton in his fields. Bt cotton has revolutionized cotton farming , Joshi said.
Reacting to Joshi's statement, Tiwari said only farmers with enough irrigation could profit from Bt cotton but not the small and marginal ones. His farm could sustaini Bt due to irrigation facilities the family had, said Tiwari.
2.Sharad Joshi – a profile
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Sharad Joshi is the founder of the 'farmer unions' Shetkari Sanghatana and Kisan Coordination Committee, both of which have been used to promote GM crops not just in India but in Europe and at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Sharad Joshi is also the leader of a grouping called Farmers for Freedom and of a political party, the Swatantra Bharat Party, of which he was also National President.
Both Shetkari Sanghatana and Kisan Coordination Committee are described as 'peasant' organisations. Joshi is the author of a book, 'Organisation of Peasants – Thought and Practice' and he describes himself as a 'Peasant Leader'. However, his background does not suggest peasant roots.
He was a lecturer in Economics and Statistics at the University of Poona (1957-58) before joining the Indian Postal Service (1958-68) from where he moved to the International Bureau of the UPU – the intergovernmental organisation for postal services . During this period (1968-77), Joshi was resident in Bern, Switzerland, where the UPU is based.
All the groups with which Joshi is connected claim to be 'non-political' but have an ultra-libertarian stance. They emphasise not just freedom of access to markets, but freedom from state regulation and from any state economic intervention. In recent years, the freedom to use GM crops without any restriction has been added to the list.
Joshi has pursued his goals via 'a number of agitations', even being arrested on one occasion. In 2002 he threatened to lead a campaign of civil disobedience if Monsanto's GM cotton was not approved by India's regulatory body. However, the level of popular support for Joshi and his views is open to question.
According to Corporate Observatory Europe, the 'marginal position' of Joshi's groups and their ideology was revealed 'when Joshi ran for the Indian parliament in the mid-90s and received only a few hundred votes.'
Similarly, although Shetkari Sanghatna and KCC are presented as 'mainstream' farmers' movements, in reality Joshi and his organisations have had an increasingly small constituency and typically represent only large local landowners growing cash crops, rather than India's numerous subsistence farmers.
Despite this tiny following, Joshi is a Member of the Advisory Board of the Monsanto-backed World Agricultural Forum (WAF), in St. Louis, USA, and Chairman of the WAF India Chapter and South Asia Chapter. He is also Chairman of Shivar Agroproducts Ltd., an agroproducts processing and marketing company, and of Bhama Constructions Ltd.
More on the pro-GM stance and activities of Joshi's organisations:http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Kisan_Coordination_Committee