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Indian Manifesto Demands Indefinite Moratorium on GMO

Document Backed by Farmers Unions, Academics Released in Run-Up to 2019 General Election

Colin Todhunter

A new ‘Political Manifesto’ has demanded an indefinite moratorium on the environmental release of GMOs in India pending independent and rigorous biosafety risk assessment and regulation.

The documents states:

GMO contamination of our seeds, our foundation seed stock, will change the structure of our food at the molecular level. Any harm or toxicity that there is will remain, without the possibility of remediation or reversibility.”

Signed by high-profile organisations and individuals, including farmer’s organisation Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture, Aruna Rodrigues (Lead Petitioner: Supreme Court GMO PIL), Kavitha Kuruganti and Vandana Shiva as well as dozens of co-signatories, the manifesto demands the introduction of a biosafety protection act, which would prioritise India’s biosafety and biodiversity and implement the GMO moratorium, while preventing the import of any GMOs into India.

The manifesto also calls for a ban on the herbicides glyphosate and glufosinate as well as for national consultations and a parliamentary debate to formulate policy to establish and incentivize agroecological systems of farming as a means of avoiding ecosystems collapse. In addition, the document wants a pledge that farmers’ traditional knowledge and inherent seed freedom will remain secure and that there should be no patents on GMO seeds or plants.

The release of the manifesto coincides with the upcoming 2019 Indian general election, which begins in April.

The current Modi-led administration has presided over an accelerating push within official circles for GM agriculture. There has also been creeping illegal contamination of the nation’s food supply with GMOs. This might seem perplexing given that the ruling BJP stated in its last election manifesto: “GM foods will not be allowed without full scientific evaluation on the long-term effects on soil, production and biological impact on consumers.”

Readers are urged to read the five-page ‘Political Manifesto Demand With Regard to GMOs/LMOs’. It sets out clear and cogent arguments for the moratorium and contains the list of signatories.

Five high-level reports: no to GMOs

In India, five high-level reports have advised against the adoption of GM crops: the ‘Jairam Ramesh Report’ imposing an indefinite moratorium on Bt Brinjal (2010); the ‘Sopory Committee Report’ (2012); the ‘Parliamentary Standing Committee’ (PSC) Report on GM crops (2012); the ‘Technical Expert Committee (TEC) Final Report’ (2013); and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment and Forests (2017).

These reports conclude that GM crops are unsuitable for India and that existing proper biosafety and regulatory procedures are inadequate. Appointed by the Supreme Court, the TEC was scathing about the prevailing regulatory system and highlighted its inadequacies and serious inherent conflicts of interest. The TEC recommended a 10-year moratorium on the commercial release of GM crops. The PSC also arrived at similar conclusions.

However, the drive to get GM mustard commercialised (which would be India’s first officially-approved GM food crop) has been relentless. The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has even pushed the process by giving it the nod, but the cultivation of GM mustard remains on hold in the Supreme Court due to a public interest litigation brought by lead petitioner Aruna Rodrigues.

Rodrigues argues that GM mustard is being undemocratically forced through with flawed tests (or no tests) and a lack of public scrutiny: in effect, there has been unremitting scientific fraud and outright regulatory delinquency. Moreover, this crop is also herbicide-tolerant (HT), which, as stated by the TEC, is wholly inappropriate for a country like India with its small biodiverse, multi-cropping farms.

GMOs in the food system

Despite official committees and reports advising against GMOs, they have already contaminated India’s food system. Back in 2005, for instance, biologist Pushpa Bhargava noted that unapproved varieties of several GM seeds were being sold to farmers. In 2008, Arun Shrivasatava wrote that illegal GM okra had been planted in India and poor farmers had been offered lucrative deals to plant ‘special seed’ of all sorts of vegetables.

In 2013, a group of scientists and NGOs protested in Kolkata and elsewhere against the introduction of transgenic brinjal in Bangladesh – a centre for origin and diversity of the vegetable – as it would give rise to contamination of the crop in India. In 2014, the West Bengal government said it had received information regarding “infiltration” of commercial seeds of GM Bt brinjal from Bangladesh.

In 2017, the illegal cultivation of a GM HT soybean was reported in Gujarat. Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, a national farmers organisation, claimed that Gujarat farmers had been cultivating the HT crop illegally. There are also reports of HT cotton (again illegally) growing in India.

A study by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment found that due to lax enforcement, a deeply flawed labelling system and corporate deception, Indian supermarkets are inundated with GM foods. The results show the large-scale illegal presence and sale of GM processed foods in the country.

All of this is prompting calls for probes into the workings of the GEAC and other official bodies which have been asleep at the wheel or deliberately looking the other way. The latter could be the case given that senior figures in India misguidedly regard GM seeds (and their associated chemical inputs) as key to ‘modernising’ Indian agriculture.

Despite reasoned argument and debate against the cultivation of GM crops or the consumption of GM food in India, we are witnessing GMOs entering India anyhow. Rohit Parakh of India for Safe Food says that the government’s own data on the import of live seeds indicates that imports continue, including that of GM canola, GM sugar beet, GM papaya, GM squash and GM corn seeds (in addition to GM soybean) from countries such as the USA, with no approval from the GEAC.

In finishing let’s look at a warning from 10 years ago, when it was predicted that Bt brinjal would fail within 4-12 years if introduced in India. It seems that’s precisely what has happened to Bt cotton in the country. The last thing India needs is another ill thought out GMO experiment pushed through without proper independent assessments that consider health and environmental outcomes or the effects on farmers’ livelihoods and rural communities.

Indeed, a recent paper by Prof Andrew Paul Gutierrez concludes that extending implementation of GM technology to other crops in India will only mirror the disastrous implementation of Bt cotton, thereby tightening the economic noose on still more subsistence farmers for the sake of profits.

It is therefore a timely and much needed intervention by a coalition of groups and individuals to put forward a call for a moratorium on GMOs.

Colin Todhunter is an independent journalist who writes on development, environmental issues, politics, food and agriculture. He was named in August 2018 by Transcend Media Services as one of 400 Living Peace and Justice Leaders and Models in recognition of his journalism.

Filed under: agriculture, GMO, India, latest, multipolar world

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Colin Todhunter is an independent journalist who writes on development, environmental issues, politics, food and agriculture. He was named in August 2018 by Transcend Media Services as one of 400 Living Peace and Justice Leaders and Models in recognition of his journalism.

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jdseanjd

Not all genetic modification is bad: the first bioengineered organism was the dog.
Our farm animals we have bred from wild animals.

The “hexaploid” wheat we grow over 90% of the world does not exist in nature: ancient farmers bred it from different grasses. Our modern “bread wheat” has three pairs of chromosomes from three plant genera, and has never been found in the wild.
And on & on with many plants & animals.

Genetic modification goes back to bronze age farmers looking to improve their stock & crops. Work done by plant geneticists in the 50s & 60s helped India, Pakistan & Mexico avoid famines via the “Green Revolution”, a modern miracle. Yet Norman Borlaug had to struggle for several years to get his new wheat approved in India & Pakistan against resistance from bureaucrats & protectionists.

It seems there are always Luddites keen to impede progress. In addition there are those who have swallowed the overpopulation lies pushed by the 1%s & UN Agenda 21, & are keen for a huge depopulation. India must not be duped by these evil people & their plots because population growth is an engine for progress & has been for all human history.

http://www.c3headlines.com
Click on Quotes.
Also a useful site to research the global warming/climate fraud.
Book: Merchants Of Despair, by nuclear PhD engineer Robert Zubrin.
Human progress can continue indefinitely, if we can rid ourselves of the depopulationists & eugenicists & the Bankster 1%s Money Masters.

John Doran.

milosevic
milosevic

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

Time for you to read a Science for Dummies book or two. Baby steps first – you can try something less patronizing later, once you start to get the hang of things.

(1) The only connection between genetic modification of the age-old selective breeding type you quote and the GMO type that bothers a lot of people here is that they both come up with variant and sometimes novel organisms. Other than that, the GMO type is a very recent method that fiddles around with pure genetic material directly rather than via the age-old, nature-mediated routes that selective breeding allows. This enables a bunch of scientifically accomplished but otherwise brainless future-fuckers to create not just boysenberries, say, but one-eyed fish-fingered pork-chop trees and other exotica without knowing anything more about the overall functionality of genomes involved than you could shove up the smallest of the one-eyed fish-fingered pork chop tree’s three, small, actual-rodent assholes. The overly hubristic, inadequately overviewed Foresightless leading the totally Blind, cheered on by the congenitally Dumb.

Your other points of unalloyed solipsistic libertarian entitlement neither engage directly with the content of the article nor present any arguments that are inherently worth countering. Pass.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

“Work done by plant geneticists in the 50s & 60s helped India, Pakistan & Mexico avoid famines via the “Green Revolution”, a modern miracle. Yet Norman Borlaug had to struggle for several years to get his new wheat approved in India & Pakistan against resistance from bureaucrats & protectionists.”

As, Mr Doran, you like shilly links, here’s another for you:

https://grainstorm.com/pages/modern-wheat

Light on cited science but high on common observation and common sense. Your special section is the part headed ‘Revolution # 2: Radical genetic modification and industrial “high-input” farming’. And, while the “Green Revolution” which it covers did use radical new genetic technologies, it remained within the overall constraints of traditional hybridization – they hadn’t even got as far as deploying modern GMO technology, but there was Monsanto already in full decimate the farmer fast and kill the consumer slowly mode promoting it.

jdseanjd

Robbobbin, you talk down to me in very rude fashion. I always think that doing that proves a weak mind or a weak argument or both. You have proved me correct.

The main point I was making was that Mankind must not turn its back on progress. That would be stupidity.
GMO food has the potential for great progress, once proven safe.
GMO golden rice could stop millions of cases of blindness & death in the third world. The “Green” campaign against GMO per se is murderous.
An indefinite moratorium is ridiculous.

I will agree with your article that good nutrition is a huge part of good health, & that modern Western foods are over-processed & not as healthy as they should be. This is no reason to deny progress. It’s a reason to find out where our present food is lacking.

Is it part of the 1%s Agenda 21 depopulation plans?

the c3 website I cited is quite definite about depopulation being among the Elite’s agendas. Multi-billionaire Rockefeller crony Ted Turner has openly stated he wants a 95% reduction. Prince Philip wants to return as a virus “to solve the (Non-Existent) overpopulation problem.

Look into the Rockefeller/Turner funded UN depopulation arm The Club Of Rome. The Rockefeller Billionaire Good Club. The Georgia Guidestones.
Buy Dr. Tim Ball’s great little book:
Human Caused Global Warming The Biggest Deception In History
Dr. Tim has correctly, IMHO, identified depopulation as one of the main factors driving the warming/climate fraud. Only 121 pages.
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_depopu45.htm

John Doran.

jdseanjd

Rude much or what?

Question-This
Question-This

What you have to consider is your erroneous comparison with Luddites, Luddites are commonly misused to suggest ignorance/naivety/obsolete thinking!

Luddites had both a valid concerns & were right!

jdseanjd

Luddites were people who tried to impede technological progress & failed.

Gerda Halvorsen
Gerda Halvorsen

What you are describing has nothing to do with the genetic modification process carried out in laboratories today!!!!! I hope that it is only because you do not understand rather than a cynical effort to dupe other people that drove you to write this post.

Wilmers31
Wilmers31

Just another warning not to buy anything imported from India.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

“Indian Manifesto Demands Indefinite Moratorium on GMO”

Not good enough. A Definite Moratorium should be called for. How long were people cultivating, milling (using stone mills or grinders) and eating wheat before the current iGeneration discovered how to mill gluten free cornflour and grow gluten free rice to quell their gluten-tortured guts? 10, 000 years? OK, until 12018 CE should be long enough for us develop the science (and the raw brainpower) necessary to assess rationally any seriously deleterious effects of frankenfood in the human diet and the wider environment. This proposal has been brought to you by The New You Gluten Free Sorghum and Tahini Corporation. “You know those other gluten-laden brands clog you up.”

Wilmers31
Wilmers31

The “indefinite” would refer to time, not content.

Robbobbobin
Robbobbobin

Yes. And in politicspeak “indefinite” always means “forever or until Mr Bayer (or whoever) bungs me enough dropsy to push through legislation to define the end of indefinite as being ‘next Thursday’.” I’d prefer a specific date on a long enough timescale for us to have just possibly gotten by then at least half an idea of the multiple parameters involved. In the case of GMO even 10,000 years might still not be enough for us to have understood what AI has to say about it, but it’s a damn sight better than next Thursday.

Frankly Speaking
Frankly Speaking

Those with real world experience of modern India know that it’s a corrupt mess and nothing is surprising.

wardropper
wardropper

Same is true of today’s USA, but that’s no reason to write off either of them.
Generally speaking, it is the people’s “representatives” who constitute the corrupt mess, while the actual people simply want to get on with the normal contents of a human life.
The reason is simple: Civilized people don’t want to control others. Barbarians do.

Wilmers31
Wilmers31

And not mentioning the mess and issues doesn’t do anything.

If exposed there is a chance of change, if not, theree is no chance for improvement as it would appear to the observer nothing is amiss.

p0000t

Such great news. GMO has been foisted on India.

Denis O'hAichir
Denis O'hAichir

Sixth last paragraph says it all.