Farmers' organisations in India oppose patents and to boycott GMOs
Farmers oppose patent ordinance
NEW DELHI, JAN 10
Farmers' bodies have decided to oppose the recent ordinance which seeks to introduce patent monopolies on seeds. The agitation will be launched on January 30.
They have decided to oppose the proposed amendments to the Seeds Act, government policies leading to privatisation of the water sector and market monopolies likely to be created by attempts to modify the structure of regulated markets for agri produces, Food Corporation of India and the public distribution system.
As an alternative, the farmers' bodies have decided draft a new agriculture policy and submit it the government after the conclusion of the proposed two-day deliberations on March 2.
Farmers' organisations from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra converged in the capital on Monday and resolved to launch their countrywide agitation.
The farmers' conclave was organised by Bija Vidyapeeth and was addressed by eminent speakers like former Indian ambassador to GATT SP Shukla, Prof Utsav Patnaik of Jawaharlal Nehru University, former chairman of ST & SC Commission, BD Sharma, Dinesh Abrol of All India People Science Network, Supreme Court advocate Prasant Bhushan, convenor of the National Working Group on Patent Laws, BK Keayla and Navdanya's founder director, Dr Vandana Shiva.
Briefing mediapersons at the conclusion of the farmers' conclave, Dr Shiva said: "The Patent Ordinance has proposed patent monopolies on seeds, genes and markers. This will lead to farmers' paying royalties to seed companies. Further, the proposed amendments to the Seeds Act, like compulsory registration, will prevent farmers from using farm-saved seeds. We have decided to oppose all these measures and boycott multinational companies producing agro-chemicals and seeds, including the genetically modified ones." Regarding agitation against the proposed water sector reforms, she said the focal areas will be Bundelkhand and Doab.
Bundelkhand is threatened by the Ken-Betwa river link financed by the World Bank and MP Water Sector Reform Project. The fertile plains of Doab are threatened by diversion of Ganga water to Delhi. The agitation against water sector reforms will begin on February 14. On that day, farmers will also serve notices of non-cooperation to the government, she said.
Ram Kalspurkar of Vidharbha Organic Farmers' Association alleged that sterile seeds sold by companies have led to suicides by farmers'. He also complained about proliferation of a virus called CaMV which has damaged the crops.