Organisers of Brinjal Festival say that the genetically modified variety is not safe and has become a threat to the organically produced one Mahalakshmi Prabhakaran Posted On Monday, April 06, 2009 at 12:24:14 AM
Two brinjal props at the entrance welcome you to MHS Hall, Lalbagh, where the first-ever Brinjal Festival of the city is under way. A joint effort by the Sahaja Samrudha (Organic Farmers Association of India) and the Association for India’s Development (AID), the Jaivika Krishi Society (JKS), Samvada and the Mysore Horticulture Society (MHS), the programme drew a huge crowd on Sunday.
Along with their children, the urban elite mixed with the rural folk at the event organised to create awareness about the advantages of the rich organic brinjal and the bad effects of promoting the BT variety which is genetically modified. People entering the hall were greeted by the king of vegetables, in all sizes, shapes and colours, neatly arranged in stacks.
POISON ON YOUR PLATTER
One of the key attraction at the festival was the movie Poison On Your Platter, conceptualised and produced by Mahesh Bhatt and directed by Ajay Kanchan. DVDs of the movie were on sale the venue. For the layman, who is more or less ignorant about genetically modified (GM) food, the movie is an eye opener.
Stalls set up outside sold organic products including green tea, white tea, honey, jam, handmade terracotta products and medicinal oils. But the best crowd-pullers were food stalls that served tantalising, wholesome dishes prepared with brinjals. Many took them in parcels to enjoy at home.
A strong opponent of GM crops, the Greenpeace also made its presence felt in the event.
Narasimha Reddy, an organic farmer from Gowribidanur urged the urban people to support farmers. “We need you people to encourage us by creating demand for our produce. With your support, we can produce everything that you want. Sangita Sharma, a farmer and state co-ordinator for the My Right to Safe Food campaign, said BT brinjal was a threat to the organic variety. “We think we are safe, but if the GM variety is out in the environment, even organic means to cultivate produce will lose its efficacy. In order to avoid this disaster, consumers should say no to BT Brinjal.
GM or BT Brinjal? The genetically modified (GM) brinjal is a variety in which genes from one species is transferred into the DNA of another species to give it certain new traits. Genes are also taken from sources like bacteria, viruses, spiders, scorpions, fish and pigs. These are inserted into the genomes of brinjal, potatoes, corn, cabbage, tomatoes etc. The side effects of such varieties are yet to be known.