Together with Kisan Coordination Committee, the Federation of Farmers Associations (FFA), based in the city of Hyderabad in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh, has been at the forefront of support for GM crops in India.
The FFA was inaugurated in December 1998 by Sharad Joshi, founder of Shetkari Sanghatana and the Kisan Coordination Committee.
The FFA is said to be an 'independent organisation representing some two million members from 500 farmers organisations in Andhra Pradesh'. However, the term 'federation' is employed loosely in India and, as with the Kisan Coordination Committee, the FFA's real constituency appears to be quite small and significantly different from that which it claims.
The FFA's President, P Chengal Reddy , has been described as speaking 'on behalf of small-holder farmers' but the FFA is a lobby for Andhra Pradesh's big commercial farmers.Chengal Reddy's family have long been a rightwing political force in Andhra Pradesh.
Chengal Reddy has had a close association with Monsanto. He is also known to have proposed that the FFA become the operational arm in Andhra Pradesh of The Indian Crop Protection Association (ICPA). The ICPA represents India's leading agrochemical companies.
The links page on the FFA's website is revealing. There are links to Monsanto and a number of other biotech corporations, to the far right International Policy Network and, perhaps most revealing, to Monsanto's Internet PR firm Bivings, under its previous name of Bivings Woodell Inc. The page also has a link to 'Tuskege University' (sic), which links to CS Prakash's agbioworld website.
In order to promote GM crops to farmers, legislators and others, in 1999 the FFA organised a workshop with the Administrative Staff College of India, at Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. Among the contributors was C S Prakash. In April 2000 Chengal Reddy shared a platform with Prakash at a pro-GM event organised by the Liberty Institute .
In 2003 S Jayapal Reddy, a member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Farmers Associations, travelled to Europe as part of a 'Third World' GM lobby group, hosted by EuropaBio, which included Dr Luke Mumba from Zambia, TJ Buthelezi from South Africa and representatives of ISAAA and AfricaBio .
Chengal Reddy has also represented 'Third World farmers' on a number of occasions, including at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 where he was the guest of ISAAA and AfricaBio . Kisan Coordination Committee was also present and together with Reddy and TJ Buthelezi they participated in a carefully choreographed pro-GM demonstration.
Together with Kisan Coordination Committee and the Liberty Institute, the FFA was one of the chief lobbyists for the approval of GM crops in India.