Another Indian state says "No" to GM
2.Enact Act to ban Bt brinjal: PMK
NOTE: Yet another Indian state says "No" to GM eggplant (brinjal) - item 1.
1.BT BRINJAL WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN MADHYA PRADESH: AGRICULTURE MINISTER
Coalition for a GM-Free Madhya Pradesh, October 27 2009
Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh will not allow Bt Brinjal into the state and understands the dangers of GM food crops, said Dr Ramakrishna Kusmariya, Minister for Farmer Welfare and Agriculture Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh here. He provided this assurance to a delegation of Hamara Beej Abhiyan and Beej Swaraj Abhiyan on this issue in the context of the regulatory body in the Government of India Genetic Engineering Approval Committee recently approving Bt Brinjal for commercial cultivation in India. The final decision on Bt Brinjal now rests with the Government of India, which is seeking feedback from all stakeholders on the issue.
"GM crops are the latest version of the way East India Company colonized India in the past; these seeds will destroy Indian farming and enslave farmers. We were left untouched by the recent financial crisis essentially because Indian farmers are self-reliant with the entry of seeds like GM seeds, all of that will change to the detriment of farmers. The only way to keep Indian farming alive is to keep the traditional seed (exchange) systems alive", said the Minister.
Welcoming the stand of Madhya Pradesh government on this matter that concerns the health, environment and livelihoods of millions of farmers and consumers in the country, Mr Jayant Verma of Hamara Beej Abhiyan said, “It is good that state governments are asserting their constitutional authority over their agriculture. We hope to see a comprehensive legislation being put in place by such state governments as Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Kerala and Chattisgarh which have so far stated their stand against Bt Brinjal and want to protect their states from the onslaught of GM seeds. The story of Bt Cotton in Madhya Pradesh, where the annual average yield per hectare has fallen in the six years after Bt Cotton introduction and expansion, as compared to the earlier six years (as per Cotton Corporation of India data) should be an eye-opener with regard to GM crops”.
Various groups in the Coalition for a GM-Free Madhya Pradesh including Right to Food Campaign-MP, Lok Jagriti Manch, Madhyanchal Forum, Jan Pahal, Bhartiya Kissan Union, Dalit Adivasi Mahapanchayat, Dalit Adivasi Mukti Sanghatan and others welcomed the stand of the government.
"There are many ecological alternatives to pest management and other issues that confront farmers. Since the Madhya Pradesh government has already announced a policy to create an "organic Madhya Pradesh", we appreciate that the government sees that GM crops are a contradiction to the government’s vision. Efforts should now be put into shifting more and more farmers towards sustainable, ecological practices in agriculture and shift them towards self-reliant farming, to ward off this threat of MNC-takeover of our farming. This will improve farmers’ net incomes and restore their productive resources and pull them out of the current agrarian crisis. This is the only lasting solution to farmers’ suicides”, said Mr Nilesh Desai of Beej Swaraj Abhiyan.
Thousands of petitions have been submitted by farmers and consumers to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in this matter. It is also worth noting that the Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Minister is an agriculture scientist himself.
In the past week or so, several state governments have announced their decision not to allow Bt Brinjal cultivation in their states and these include Kerala (which has an organic, GM-Free Farming policy for the state), Orissa, Chattisgarh and now, Madhya Pradesh. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had asked the Centre to take the views of farmers and consumers on board and not take any hasty decision on this matter.
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2.Enact Act to ban Bt brinjal: PMK
Express News Service, 27 October 2009
[image caption: A protest by the TN Uzhavar Periyakkam, the Central Institue of Freshwater Agriculture (CIFA), TN unit and the Pasumai Thaayagam in the city on Monday]
CHENNAI: Pattali Makkal Katchi founder president Dr S Ramadoss on Monday urged Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to enact legislation during the forthcoming Assembly session banning Bt brinjal in the State.
Interacting with the press while participating in a protest demonstration organised by the Tamil Nadu Uzhavar Periyakkam here, he urged the Tamil Nadu government to mark its protest against the introduction of genetically modified seeds, such as Bt brinjal, in the country. Instead of waiting for directions from the Union Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh in this regard, the State should take proactive steps immediately, he added.
Describing the health hazards related with Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis) vegetables, Ramadoss warned that people consuming them could experience kidney and liver problems.
"Agricultural scientists must come forward to conduct researches to assess the danger associated with consumption of GM food," he said.
Asserting that cultivation of Bt brinjal would be beneficial only for Monsanto, a US based agriculture firm that developed it, the PMK leader said the American company would demand royalty for using the Bt seeds. “Moreover, there is no mechanism in India for labelling Bt products, so the consumers won’t know what is Bt and what is not,” he pointed out.