EXCERPTS: On the second day of the annual convention "Kissan Kumbh" of Bhartiya Kissan Union in Haridwar, delegates resolved that India does not need GM crops. 30,000 farmers have congregated for the 3-day Kissan Kumbh from the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.
...Farmers have decided to march to Dehradun to press the Chief Minister to declare Uttaranchal state as the first GM-free state in India.
Indian Farmers reject Bt Brinjal and other GM crops
Haridwar, June 17, 2006: On the second day of the annual convention "Kissan Kumbh" of Bhartiya Kissan Union in Haridwar, delegates resolved that India does not need GM crops. 30,000 farmers have congregated for the 3-day Kissan Kumbh from the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.
Chowdhary Mahinder Singh Tikait, President, Bhartiya Kissan Union strongly rejected GM seeds in Indian agriculture and demanded that the government at least allow Indians to eat safe food, without GM. "The Indian government is becoming anti-farmer in every way in any case now, it wants to feed Indians with poison in the form of Bt crops. How can we accept this?", he said.
"The real need for such crops comes from the seed industry which wants to secure more and more markets by selling these seeds to farmers at expensive prices otherwise, it is inexplicable that the government wants to allow a Bt Brinjal crop in the country, despite the fact that there is no apparent need for it", said Mr Devinder Sharma, noted agriculture trade policy analyst speaking on the occasion.
The farmers in delegation and other speakers from states like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra etc., shared the bitter experience with Bt Cotton in the country.
"We are being asked to produce more using such technologies. Will the government then guarantee the farmers that their increased production will be procured by it? This is especially relevant to ask in a situation when despite using GM technology, American farmers are having to be propped up by different kinds of subsidies. Will the Indian farmers be guaranteed similar support then?", asked Shri Vijay Jawandhia of Shetkari Sanghatan, Maharashtra. "The Indian government should learn from the bitter experience with pesticides that it is not enough to promote a product as being safe without adequate tests or without a precautionary approach. It should have the vision to promote right and sustainable technologies that put the control in the hands of Indian farmers over their agriculture", added Shri Yudhvir Singh, Bhartiya Kissan Union
Farmers attending the convention decided that they will send their protests to the Health and Environment Ministers for not pro-actively intervening in the matter to protect the interests of all Indians. There would be a massive education campaign launched with farmers in all villages about the various hazards of GM crops including Bt Brinjal, it was decided.
Farmers have decided to march to Dehradun to press the Chief Minister to declare Uttaranchal state as the first GM-free state in India.
For more information, contact:
Yudhvir Singh, BKU: 098-681-46405
Dharmendar Malik, BKU:092-196-91168
Rakesh Tikait, BKU: 094-125-07451
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