Farmers say halt GM cotton sales (31/5/2005)

As a result of their terrible experiences with Bt cotton, these farmers from the tribal belts of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have been trying to stop the Madhya Pradesh government from pushing Bt Cotton in the state. They have also been seeking official survey reports on the performance of Bt cotton from the state department of agriculture but in vain.

Farmers against sale of GM Bt cotton seeds
HT, Bhopal, 26/05/05

Despite big publicity of their seeds among farmers of Madhya Pradesh by Multi National Corporations to grow Bt cotton, farmers today registered a strong protest.

At a press conference here today, farmers from Malwa & Nimar areas of Madhya Pradesh strongly protested against the State Government's stand of allowing Multi National Corporations to push the seeds of Bt cotton.

The farmers said using genetically engineered Bt cotton seeds in Nimar region, left thousands of farmers in most pathetic condition.

Under the banner of Beej Swaraj Abhiyaan, the farmers alleged that multinational corporations like Monsanto etc lured the farmers to use Bt Cotton seeds, describing it as pest-resistant, highly productive and much better than the local ones. "But factually, the result was just the opposite," they said.

The representatives argued that once it had failed miserably in Andhra Pradesh, resulting in death of several farmers, why were the companies permitted to sell it in Madhya Pradesh.

In spite of adverse results in Dhar, Jhabua and Badwani, the Madhya Pradesh Government has permitted four Companies to sell seeds in the State on May 16, complained Nilesh Desai of Beej Swaraj Abhiyan. Who would compensate the loss of farmers suffered after using Bt Cotton seeds? He questioned.

Citing his experience another farmer Mangilal Patidar alleged that the Salesmen of Monsanto did door to door campaigning to push the seeds, but later it turned out to be a disaster for farmers. The price of Bt Cotton seed is several times higher than desi variety,

"We had to use pesticide five times more than the normal and after fruition there is hardly any fibre in it", he complained. Patidar said that due to the poor quality of it, the Bt Cotton fetched a much lower price than the desi variety.

The farmers have written to Chief Minister Shri Babulal Gaur demanding the cancellation of license of the Companies selling Bt Cotton Seeds. They said comparative studies have proved the false claims made by the seed producing companies. "It even proved to be a failure abroad, and here we've been asked to use the same", the farmers complained.

Posted by:
Suresh Motwani


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