Saturday, April 18, 2009

Political Parties' manifestos on GM crops/foods issue

A nation wide campaign for over years now by concerned citizens like farmers, NGO's, consumers, students, bureaucrats State wise are joining in the efforts of Coalition for GM-Free India. "My Right to Safe Food" - "I am no Lab Rat" - "Safe food Alliance" and many more are the extensions of the Coalition working towards safeguarding our food and biodiversity.

Our aim is to create awareness and awaken political parties re GM issues so that it becomes part of their electoral manifestos. Please find attached a tabulation for ready reading on different parties' articulations on different aspects related to Indian farming.

Food for thought

Meena Menon

While the Congress is silent in its manifesto on genetically modified crops, other parties have dealt with it in their own ways.

The BJP manifesto declares: “No genetically modified seed will be allowed for cultivation without full scientific data on long-term effects on soil, production and biological impact on consumers. All food and food products produced with genetica lly modified seeds will be branded as ‘GM Food.’

The CPI says: “With regard to GM crops/foods, we will take a precautionary approach and will demand a moratorium until all pending issues are resolved satisfactorily.

Further, the CPI will demand a review of the Indo-U.S. Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA).”

The CPI (ML) too says: “No introduction of genetically modified (GM). Immediate stop to all field trials of GM crops.”

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) also targets the KIA. The Pattali Makal Katchi (PMK) says it will oppose all GM seeds and GM foods, and demand a moratorium on GM crop field trials, apart from opposing collaborations between MNCs and agricultural universities.

Even the manifestos of the TRS, the AIADMK and the MDMK have touched on GM food. Only one party seems silent.


The Congress government signed the KIA with the Bush administration and has supported industrial agriculture, privatization of agriculture, "farm to fork" vertical integration to promote "big-box" stores, and GMOs with specific support for U.S. agribusiness giants, three of which sit on the board of KIA: Monsanto, Wal-Mart and Archer Daniels Midland. Why should the party say anything on this topic?

Author Planet India
Mira Kamdar
Senior Fellow
World Policy Institute
Associate Fellow
Asia Society


Equador might accept Terminator technology
Saturday, April 18, 2009

"This brings me to the controversial issue of terminator seeds. The ever-agile ETC has issued an alert today, which tells us that Equador, a biodiversity rich country in Latin America, has possibly opened its door to the terminator technology. The new President, Rafael Correa has made certain changes in a proposed legislation, and sent it back to the Congress. Obviously, the President is under pressure from the biotech industry, and as we know the industry prefers to wait for the day when a 'right kind of leader' takes over".

Who says perseverance doesn't pay?

Elizabeth Bravo of Accion Ecologica in Equador is really a brave person. She is quick to understand, and among the first to react to the Presidential amendment, and her warning may save the Equadorians from an impending (un)natural disaster. I remember the days when ETC (it was then called RAFI) had first issued an alert on the terminator seed, The Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security in New Delhi was quick to analyse its implications, and issue a warning. Within a fortnight, the then Agriculture Minister Mr Sompal made a statement in Parliament saying that India would not allow terminator. And subsequently it became such an emotive issue that terminator was finally outlawed. The Indian Plant Varieties Protection & Farmer Rights Act (PVPFA) explicitly states that.

Brazil is another country that has outlawed terminator technology.

But let us not be complacent. The biotech companies have not given up......

We as consumers need to act and say NO to GM foods. This is our only chance before it is too late. We cannot afford to be complacent and allow greed driven agri-business giants to use our bodies as guinea pigs or for that matter leave the decision too late and be at the mercy of policy makers on GM commercialisation.

Should you wish for Safe food choices, it is your time to act now.

In solidarity

Sangita Sharma

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