More Bt problems / Campaign against GM crops launched
1.Cotton crop problems - front page news
2.Bt cotton deaths - updates
3.Campaign against GM crops launched
4.Supreme Court orders restrictions on GM food imports
5.Mahyco denies sourcing seeds from university seed bank
NOTE: Depsite the constant claims by Monsanto-Mahyco that everything in India's GM cotton fields is lovely thanks to Bt cotton, there's a continual flow of information throwing such claims into question. (items 1 and 2)
1."Blow to cotton crop with diseases" - front page news in Eenaadu
From Kavitha Kuruganti
Centre for Sustainable Agriculture
Yesterday Eenaadu, a leading telugu daily in Andhra Pradesh had a front page prominent story yesterday (21st October 2008) with the above headline. Given are some excerpts from this news report:
* Cotton farmers are in for a period of difficulties. Diseases are affecting cotton crop and the yields are declining.
* It is estimated that there would be a 40-50% decline in the cotton production estimated at 56 lakh bales this year.
* Mealy bug has spread extensively, along with tobacco caterpillar and wilting.
* Initially this season there were good rains and then there was a long dry spell. This was when the mealy bug attack started. Cropo in Adilabad, Khammam, Warangal, Karimnagar and Nalgonda districts is expected to yield less. It appears that farmers will not be able to recover their investments.
* The cost of crop protection has increased a lot this year. Farmers who resorted to herbicides spent nearly two thousand rupees an acre on that front; further, at least six sprays of pesticides so far have cost them more than three thousand rupees an acre on an average.
2.BT Cotton Deaths, Updates
Dr Sudhir Kumar Kaura
We reported earlier as well on ill effects of BT cotton (for earlier reports see www.kisanbachaoandolan.co.cc) but a recent visit to some villages in Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa districts of Haryana state has opened our eyes further:
Farmers of the area say that the problems in animals related to dislike of feed items containing cotton seeds like whole seed meals and cotton seed oilcake, prolapse of uterus, premature deliveries, sudden deaths of buffaloes, reduction in milk and fat content of milk, skin problems and many other previously not so common or rare problems in animals are rising. According to villagers and medical practioners, in humans as well skin related itching and eruptions and subsequent wounds are very common who work in BT cotton fields. People say that all these problems are coinciding with the introducton of BT cotton in the area.
I was shocked to know that the village Sarpanch (village head) of Dhansu Village of District Hisar, Haryana State says some persons in his village have suffered skin problems possibly due to BT cotton and they have invested lacs of Rupees. In the same village many animals have died and the farmers say that the cause they could not ascertain. But these problems have appeared only in last 2-3 years and in the same time BT cotton was introduced in the area. Moreover, a majority of animals in the area completely refuse to eat the BT cotton seed and oil cake. To add to the truth 1 out of 10 cows who were experimented upon by National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, India did not eat BT cotton seed based feed and it was forced to eat the same by mixing the feed with some tasty preparation (so if they have added an ingredient to make feed tasty and did not add the same ingredient in any other experimented or control group animals then this experiment is scientifically invalid, and I am qualified enough to declare it invalid - Dr Sudhir Kumar Kaura).
The problems in humans and animals is going nearly unreported in the media.
I hope someone would take care, though BBC TV and The Sunday Indian (Plan Man Media Publicatino) have covered it this month in our area. But it needs detail investigation, though we have made some videos and photographs and some of these would be soon available on www.kisanbachaoandolan.co.cc or can be requested at kisanbachaoandolan @ rediffmail.com
Farmers are very much scared due to sudden deaths of buffaloes in many villages in Hisar, Fatehabad and Bhiwani districts and many of them have sold their remaining animals due fear of further death and further economic loss. Due this phenomenon, price of Buffaloes has declined sharply in the market possibly due these reasons only.
Other farmers whom we met are as follows: (all of them are feeding their animals with cotton seeds or cotton oilcake purchased from market along with other feed items)
Chandi Ram Punia Village Talwandi Rana, Hisar District who lost four of his five buffaloes in few days time due to sudden death and the cause is unkown. He sold his remaining one buffalo due to the fear of death.
Indro wife of Dharam Pal, Village Dhansu, Hisar District said that her buffalo died suddenly though it was yielding 12 litres of milk per day. (One day prior to its death its milk yield was 14 liters and two day prior to death it yielded 16 litres)
Ram Niwas son of Prithvi Singh village Badopal, Fatehabad District [Phone 01667 285254 (Purushottam) 9728468472 (Anil)] says that his buffalo died recently due to problem in pregnancy.
Ram Phal son of Ami Lal, village Dulehri, Bhiwani District says that his buffalo delivered calf prematurely in 8.5 months only. And this type of problem has become widespread in the village this year. For last 3-4 years we are facing problems in animals says Ami Lal. Animals do not prefer to eat the cotton oil cake and cotton seeds. We do not know the reason but when the animals eat cotton seeds or cotton oil cake they fall ill. The cotton seeds and cotton oil cake also has affected fertility of animals in the sense that 1-2 years gap is often coming in the pregnancy cycle and young calves are dying in high numbers. Majority of animals have started delivering prematurely. This has resulted in decline in milk yield of animals and taste of milk is not up to the mark. Earlier we used to consume milk in high quantity but now we consume less milk due to not so good taste. Fat content of milk is also reduced and it has halved compared to past. For last 2-3 years problem of prolapse of uterus has also become widespread. Milk production and fat content of milk declines due to feeding of cotton oilcake and cotton seeds.
Satyavan son of Bhola Ram village Dulehri, Bhiwani District says, ‘In our village 50 per cent people have stopped feeding cotton seeds and cotton oilcake and have replace it by wheat. She Calves don’t conceive at right time and conception age has advanced up to 2 years. Abortion in animals has become very common. Milk yield is not as expected and sometime animals stopped producing milk after 6 months. Whether cow of buffalo, all animals are affected by this problem. Animals are not satisfied with the feed containing cotton seed and cotton seed oilcake. Cotton seeds of non-BT 'desi' cotton variety are liked by animals but they dislike cotton seeds and cotton oil cake which we bring from market especially from Hansi town and other towns. Animals readily feed on other feed material like wheat but don’t prefer cotton seeds and cotton oil cake. Milk production has declined by 50%.
In Kotli Village of Sirsa District Jagir Singh son of Ujagar Singh informed us that skin itching has increased in village dogs as well since the BT cotton has come in the village. In the same village Pawan Taneja son of Ram Swarup Taneja running medicine shop says that skin itching problem is rising in labors working in BT cotton fields. Only People who work in BT cotton fields are affected by skin problems. Though incident of any death due to BT cotton related skin problems is not there. Affected labors have to take medicine of Rs 150 for 3-4 days and the medicine has effect up to 15-20 days.
Mange Ram son of Prema Ram Thapan, village Badopal, Fatehabad District says that his buffalo was ill for last 9 months and he was feeding it 5 kg of cotton seeds per day. It yielded 14 kg of milk 1 hour before dying. No cause of death could be ascertained by the government or private veterinary doctors of the area. Sunita (age 42 years) of the same household says that she does not prefer to enter BT cotton fields due fear of skin itching and wounds which will not heal as she is affected by diabetes. Some of her relatives living in the same household have been badly affected by skin problems and wounds due to working in the BT cotton field.
Banwari Lal son of Brij Lal of Village Sadalpur, Hisar District (phone 9255521224, 9991573937) says his buffalo also died suddenly. Our team collected and submitted a sample of cotton seeds to Central Institute of Research on Buffalo, , Hisar which was part of feed of a dead buffalo owned by Banwari Lal son of Brij Lal, village Sadalpur, Hisar District (phone)(it died suddenly recently) in presence of representatives of The Sunday Indian Mr Anil Pandey, Principal Correspondent and Mr Sujan Singh, Photographer. A part of sample is with us and is available to anyone interested in analysis.
*Please note that most of the farmers do not understand English, so please talk to them in Hindi or Haryanavi. Some of them may understand Panjabi to some extent.
With kind regards,
Sudhir Kumar Kaura
Phone: 9354172987 and 01662229163 (from with in India),
00919354172987 and 00911662229163 (from outside India)
Sender's E-mail Address: sudhirkaura 'AT' rediffmail.com (replace 'AT' by @)
3.Campaign against GM crops
The Hindu, October 18 2008
*Report states 169 unknown GM food items are being tested
Bangalore: "I Am No Lab Rat", a campaign against Genetically Modified (GM) crops, asks a significant question: Are we ready to be subjected to GM food crops without knowing their side effects?
A joint effort by Greenpeace, Sahaja Samrudha and Samvada, the campaign was launched on World Food Day here on Thursday.
The campaign comes on the heels of Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the regulatory authority for GM food, giving green signal regarding the safety of GM brinjal, which Monsanto claims is safe.
Members of Greenpeace said that there had been no long-term studies to indicate the safety of the first GM food crop of India.
"GEAC depends on the data provided by the companies modifying the crops themselves," said Divya Raghunandan, Campaigns Director, Greenpeace.
Greenpeace has released a report, Genetic Gamble, which states that there are over 169 unknown GM food items that are being tested. It lists rice, maize and okra, among others, as part of 169 crops.
G. Krishnaprasad, Director, Sahaja Samruda, said: "Karnataka has tremendous diversity as far as brinjal is concerned. We do not need a GM brijal.”
Filmmaker Kavita Lankesh has also joined the campaign. Actor Ramya launched the campaign by signing the first petition of the "I Am No Lab Rat" campaign.
4.'Restrict GM food import without examination'
Deccan Herald, October 21 2008
New Delhi, DHNS: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to restrict the import of genetically-modified food stuffs containing living modified organisms without examining their contents.
A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), a regulatory body under the ministry of environment and forests, would scientifically examine the genetically-modified food stuffs and crops before allowing their sale in the country.
The Court said till the implementation of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986, the GEAC would be the apex scientific body to regulate gene technology and micro-organisms to protect health, environment and nature.
In a petition against the introduction of GM crops in India, social activist Vandana Shiva had sought court direction to ban the import of GM food till the implementation of the law protecting the Indian gene pool.
Advocate Pinki Anand said the government order was against the objects and reasons of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986. “The net effect of the notification is that GM foods/ substances which have been scientifically proven to pose serious health hazards to the public will be permitted in the country without even seeking minimum mandatory approval by the GEAC,” she argued.
Shiva had moved the apex court in 2006 seeking a ban on GM crops in any form in the country till a regulatory framework was put in place.
5.Mahyco denies sourcing seeds from KAU
ASHOK B SHARMA
Financial Express, October 20 2008
The Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco) has said that as a company engaged in research to help farmers meet the challenge of sustainable agriculture using less land, water and pesticides, its research centre works closely with universities and agriculture research institutions for exchange of germplasm, hybrid lines and other material legally. When questioned about the ongoing row over Mahyco sourcing germplasm of indigenous rice varieties from the Kerala Agriculture University's research station at Pattambi, the company's general manager, Mahendra K Sharma said, "It is incorrect to say that Mahyco has taken 50 lines this year from the Kerala Agriculture University (KAU) under a material transfer agreement (MTA).
He, however, said that it was a common practice for universities and other institutions to provide germplasm and hybrid lines to private and public sector research groups under clearly defined terms and conditions, including public-private partnership or initiatives. These were used by breeders to develop high yielding/better varieties by traditional breeding tools like hybridization and selection. Among the institutions Mahyco partners with are Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad.
Mahyco is a partner of the US-based seed multinational Monsanto and is responsible for introducing Bt cotton in India. Mahyco has also developed several other GM crops, which are under field trials. The case of charging high technology fees for Bt technology is subjudiced before the Monopoly and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission. Several civil society organisations and farmers' groups are critical of seed companies sourcing germplasm from public sector gene banks and developing and "monopolising" the seeds.