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India’s GMOs: A 30-Year Pathway to Food Tyranny 

Colin Todhunter

A public interest litigation is currently before India’s Supreme Court which challenges the drive to commercialise the growing of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India.

On 26 October 2022, however, the country’s apex regulatory body – the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee – sanctioned commercialisation of the crop.

The central government has in the past stated commercialisation will not go ahead prior to the court’s decision, but this remains to be seen.

Approval is a significant moment for the agri biotech industry, not least because GM mustard can be regarded as a pioneering crop that could open the doors to a range of other GM food crops that are in the pipeline.

At this point, only one GM crop is legally cultivated in India, Bt cotton – designed to resist certain pests. Prominent policy makers and lobbyists have been claiming that, due to the success of Bt cotton, it should serve as a template for the introduction of GM food crops.

But this claim is not grounded in reality. Bt cotton has been far from successful and has caused immense hardship for cotton farmers (in fact, it is a template for a monumental catastrophe).

This is evidentially supported by Prof Andrew Paul Gutierrez, Dr Hans R Herren and Dr Peter E Kenmore, internationally renowned agricultural researchers.

In India, Bt cotton is a failing technology that has severely negatively impacted many farmers. And before anyone says that farmers in India have consciously opted for GM cotton, they should read what researcher and academic Andrew Flachs says.

Flachs conducted fieldwork on cotton cultivation in the South Indian state of Telangana. His book Cultivating Knowledge: Biotechnology, Sustainability and the Human Cost of Cotton Capitalism in India reveals the ugly reality of ‘choice’ and cotton cultivation on the ground.

Consider too that what is happening also goes against the recommendations of four high-level reports that have advised against the adoption of GM crops in India.

The article Agri Biotech Motivated by Monopoly Control (25 October 2022) lists these reports and describes how – through deception, scientific fraud, technological sleight of hand and regulatory jugglery – GM mustard is designed (once commercialised) to facilitate the process of (chemical-dependent) GM food crop cultivation in India.

The premise behind GM mustard is to increase yields and reduce the import bill for edible oils. However, as the article mentioned above shows, there is actually no trait for yield and this GM mustard does not outperform conventional varieties. Moreover, the increase in edible oil imports is not due to low productivity of India’s indigenous edible oils sector but the political decision to cut tarrifs on imports at the behest of global agri commodity traders.

Official reports have been scathing about India’s regulatory system for GMOs, highlighting its inadequacies and inherent serious conflicts of interest. One can only assume that given there is no need (the key prerequisite for introducing a GM crop) for GM mustard, there are other motives for its promotion.

The GM project is not about the industry’s much-touted PR slogans of ‘feeding the world’ or helping farmers’. For the sake of brevity, readers can consult the online article Challenging the Flawed Premise Behind Pushing GMOs into Indian Agriculture which dismantles these claims.

Regardless of any claimed benefits, GMOs have first and foremost been about value capture and creating market dependency. They are also about securing ownership of seed germplasm developed over centuries by farmers via acquiring intellectual property rights – corporations claim their genetic manipulation (no matter how fruitless the effect) turns a seed into a patentable product. This would restrict farmers’ access to seeds and place the biotech companies in control of cultivation and breeding.

Where India is concerned, the GM project must also be viewed as forming part of a wider dependency paradigm. There has been a three-decades-long plan to restructure the Indian economy and Indian agriculture. The plan stems from the country’s 1991 foreign exchange crisis which was used to impose IMF-World Bank debt-related ‘structural adjustment’ conditionalities.

The details of this plan appear in a 2021 article by the Mumbai-based Research Unit for Political Economy – Modi’s Farm Produce Act Was Authored Thirty Years Ago in Washington DC.

Although focusing on now-repealed (due to farmer protests) farm legislation, the article locates agricultural ‘reforms’ within a broader process of Western imperialism’s increasing capture of the Indian economy.

We often hear of the need to embrace technology and ‘modern agriculture’. On the surface, all well and good. But what this really means is acquiescing to the needs of global (GM) seed and agrichemical corporations and commodity traders: fitting into global supply chains that siphon value from the food system into the hands of the billionaires who own these conglomerates (we should not forget that Bt cotton enabled Monsanto to suck hundtreds of millions of dollars from poor cotton farmers).

To achieve this, where India is concerned, it means destroying self-reliant, indigenous systems of production by deliberately making smallholder farming financially non-viable, dismantling public buffer food stocks and state-backed price support mechanisms and distribution systems.

Having cleared the way for corporate interests to control the policy space left open by the retreat of the public sector and to amalgamate farms to entrench industrial-scale agriculture, the Indian government would then be compelled to attract ‘foreign direct investment’ by implementing further neoliberal reforms. This would build up foreign reserves which would then be used to purchase agricultural commodities on the international market.

The type of ‘food security’ demanded by ‘modern agriculture’ means eradicating self-sufficiency and implementing food-import dependency on unscrupulous global conglomerates and volatile markets vulnerable to manipulation and shocks (as we are currently witnessing in 2022).

And that’s not all. Privately owned but taxpayer subsidised ‘modern agriculture’ imposes certain costs, including nutrient-poor food contaminated by GMOs and chemical additives, the use of toxic pesticides, spiralling rates of ill health, the degradation of soil, the pollution of waterways, the eradication of thriving ecosystems and the destruction of rural communities.

The GMO issue ties into the ‘development’ agenda being pushed on India. Powerful interests are being handed India’s agrifood sector on a plate and both farmers and consumers will pick up the tab.

Colin Todhunter specialises in development, food and agriculture and is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal. You can read his “mini e-book”, Food, Dependency and Dispossession: Cultivating Resistance, here.

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Voz 0db
Voz 0db
Nov 4, 2022 8:16 PM

GMO’s are GOOD for wealth… and health!

Don’t worry much my fellow modern moron slaves. With luck the new GM RNA built in the university of Boston will be released into the “Wild” and with even more LUCK it will CULL ~80% of the HERDS!

Jack Bean
Jack Bean
Nov 4, 2022 5:35 PM

Very interesting piece. The only purpose of GMO is to enable the patenting of seeds because you can’t patent nature. It is no difference o the Virology cult who are helping to scare people into accepting that the only cure for getting rid of phantoms is to use patented “GMO/LMO” Vaxcines [SIC] deliberate. Then by using organizations like the OECD and “certified” seed can monopolise the seed market and therefore the agricultural industry with the help of the Gov and its regulators. But we must also be cognisant that there is a market war between “Organic” and “GMO” who want to take the farming industry out of the hands of real farmers our friends and instill a farming community of their choice. Both use toxins for cotrol, if they didn’t the pats would decimate their crops. The dose makes the poison. If the big chemical industry could take out the… Read more »

Freecus
Freecus
Nov 4, 2022 12:35 PM

[…] the GM project must also be viewed as forming part of a wider dependency paradigm.

Appreciate your work. The ‘GM’ acronym makes me think of Global Monopoly.
Look into the broad & deep research being done by Alison McDowell.
The current push to control all Natural life, including us the People, requires that everything be reduced and understood as a stream of digital data.
As Natural beings we have Spirit & that is something that will not be reduced to ‘bytes’ in a computer.

les online
les online
Nov 4, 2022 2:33 AM

Like rats in an experiment…
Whether your universal basic income is conditional or unconditional depends on how far They will undermine all economic certainties & security…
Wiser Heads amongst Them might advise that Revolution will break out if the system is allowed to collapse, but The Extremists amongst Them should not fear –
Revolution is a cooperative effort, no one will participate while there’s a gun pointed at their head…

‘Basic unconditional income is not distribution of money so that the population can live above the average, but a basic security that ensures human dignity’…
https:expose-news.com/2022/11/02/ubi-conditional-or-unconditional-affects-outcome/

Morality is for the masses, not for the .1% of The 1%, not even for The 1%

les online
les online
Nov 4, 2022 3:38 AM
Reply to  les online

https:expose-news.com/2022/11/02/ubi-conditional-or-unconditional-affects-outcome/

banana
banana
Nov 4, 2022 12:58 PM
Reply to  les online

great article thanks

TDj
TDj
Nov 4, 2022 1:20 AM

“The plan stems from the country’s 1991 foreign exchange crisis which was used to impose IMF-World Bank debt-related ‘structural adjustment’ conditionalities.” Any further questions ? Mind you, if we want to restructure global banking (work in progress, Hence the chaos and global Disinformation on Flu Transmissions), one would be wise to consider that ‘democracy’, Even in Greece 🇬🇷 with a Totally Clear Majority of almost 62%, ‘OXI’ will be undermined, whatever the cost to Central Bank Digital Controller’s (CBDCs), which was why Varoufakis resigned immediately: after hatching a healthy plan to **DEFAULT on IMF LOANS** Only to find that Tsipras was an IMF Stooge, equally Mathematically moronic, void of spunk & Living in fear >>> A very “Palpable Fear” as Tim Geithner said in 2008: a fear so real that the C.I.A. & N.S.A. upon the wishes of Central Banker’s, are quite happy to murder or torture for to realise…… Read more »

TDj
TDj
Nov 4, 2022 10:21 AM
Reply to  TDj

So, Antonym obviously voted my analysis down, but I would love to hear from the other
* mofo’ bloody thumb * :- however, I sincerely doubt the Trolling teamworkers BTL@OffG
Can even collectively formulate counter argumentation, nor their Bosses !
So, job done. Onto the next… gauntlet to throw.

I should perhaps research first from where Moschino sources its’ cotton, since the early 80’s.
I still have a sweatshirt of their quality cotton. Washed thousands of times, still whole…
What a present, considering the time.

Good mourning, Langley.

Antonym
Antonym
Nov 4, 2022 1:12 AM

Colid Modihunter at it again and again and ….

The Hindu newspaper (ex-communist): Explained | The new hybrid variant of mustard
India imports anywhere from 55-60% of its domestic edible-oil requirement.
This is primarily due to low productivity — of about 1-1.3 tonnes/ hectare — that has been stagnant for over two decades. On the other hand, hybrid mustard and rapeseed are the dominant form of oil seeds in Canada, China and Europe. So, proponents say, the only way to improve India’s productivity is to have more mustard hybrids.

Should India keep importing most of its cooking oils from Canada, US, China, Europe etc. where they do use these hybrids to satisfy Modihunter?

TDj
TDj
Nov 4, 2022 8:35 AM
Reply to  Antonym

A better scientific question might be , should India intensively spray Glufosinate-Ammonium all over their crops, fields and ground Water, whilst adopting Western Central Banking toxic methods of controlling everything-everything ? Or, just urinate ‘en masse’ over their fields, reading between your lines of thought, regarding the weeds ?

Or alternatively create/define their own futures, independently , after independently fully analysing Western ‘suggestions’ from snake-oil salesmen, over a longer period of time than 3 years ?

Nice try, Ant. But, why should anybody trust your judgement of science, doctors and Western
Methodology, over the constructive attempts of Colin, to analyse the Pioneers of Genetic Control
Of a Patented Food Supply Chain…? Thus the downvote for such a superficial response,
From you , failing longterm objectivity, just like Pfizer NOT testing for ANY TRANSMISSIONS !

TDj
TDj
Nov 4, 2022 8:50 AM
Reply to  TDj

Correction: snakeoil salesmen and sales women, like lil’ Janine Small, sitting in for the
Pfizer CEO @E.U. parliamentary reviews … she convinced you ? In which case I must presume you are Proudly Vaccinated and not of sound mind, scientifically.
Take your time to play catchup on the ethics of mercenary doctors and scientists,
At large today ! Not all that glitters is Gold.🥇

https://usawatchdog.com/cv19-vax-destroys-hearts-brains-of-billions-of-people-dr-sucharit-bhakdi/

Antonym
Antonym
Nov 4, 2022 9:01 AM
Reply to  TDj

No, better keep India’s population (many more than just farmers!) dependent on GMO edible oils from Canada, US, Australia, Chile Brazil, South Africa etc. Good idea when Ukraine and Russia have trouble exporting food, Indonesia halted oil exports suddenly etc.
Colin has no realistic alternative for this scenario.

TDj
TDj
Nov 4, 2022 9:59 AM
Reply to  Antonym

So, localised or foreign GMO agents, are just fine, in your book , controlling the food supply chain with Patents on genetically modified 🌱 seed is a superb idea, absent longterm scientific investigations & limited confines ? Will the Bees that pollinate be investigated as well, before you decide ? Or have you been consuming some of that Nepalese Mountain 🍯 Honey of hallucinogenic characteristics ? What you are suggesting are practices that have already raised Grave Concerns, For future 🔮 humanity in all nations: when India need not follow suit… Do you think that Modi conducted adequate Indian Research on Transmission Of the Flu.CoVirus.Spat and therefore decided to get yourself vaccinated ? Seriously Antonym did you get vaccinated ? I did not, but one brother did, Due to Work in technocratic progress. At least he did not drop dead like my Wife’s School Director, but he has had 2… Read more »

Let's be Frank Joshua
Let's be Frank Joshua
Nov 4, 2022 3:08 PM
Reply to  Antonym

As expected, big biotech shill and Modi fanboy Antonym appears on cue. Anyone who questions the GMO agenda is somehow anti-Modi and anti-India. It is as though Antonym never bothers to read the articles he comments on. Or he cannot grasp simple logic if he does. Probably more the case that he sees the headline and the author’s name and regards this as an opportunity to wade in with big biotech talking points. Because if he had read the piece, he would have known Colin T says the following – which blows his nonsense about cooking oil and ‘productivity’ out the water: The premise behind GM mustard is to increase yields and reduce the import bill for edible oils. However, as the article mentioned above shows, there is actually no trait for yield and this GM mustard does not outperform conventional varieties. Moreover, the increase in edible oil imports is… Read more »

Antonym
Antonym
Nov 5, 2022 2:16 AM

So if Colin says so it is a fact? Edible oils should not be affordable for Indians?

If Todhunter was ranting about GMO’s worldwide I would keep quiet be he doesn’t: he is mono crapping on India all the time. In typical Western woke style Modi is always bad; not a word about the neighborhood goons around India who spoil the area. Countries don’t exist in vacuums you know. Still India is one of the most divers / multicultural nations in the world but that is disregarded with the flick of a hand by Western woke who themselves are anything but tolerant.

Let's be Frank Joshua
Let's be Frank Joshua
Nov 5, 2022 9:44 AM
Reply to  Antonym

No, it is Cargill who decided edible oils should not be affordable by undermining the indigenous sector. You boost home-grown production with indigenous seeds which outyield the GM mustard being currently pushed. That’s how you make commodities plentiful and affordable. There is only one reason for pushing GM mustard – value capture. Indigenous varieties outperform it. India was almost self-sufficient in edible oils in the 1990s until Cargill stepped in. Your feelings seem to be hurt all the time because you think CT is attacking Modi. He is critiquing a system! Modi just happens to be in power at this point and is accelerating the plan that has stop-started since 1991. God knows what ‘woke’ (whatever that means) has to do with the analysis that CT offers, which is based on World Bank/IMF/Cargill directives and global food geopolitics. Maybe you are fine with people in Washington and the billionaire Cargill… Read more »

Paul Prichard
Paul Prichard
Nov 3, 2022 10:59 PM

Your alternative update on #COVID19 for 2022-11-02. Safety signal for myocarditis 10 weeks post-rollout, hidden from public. Sewage into ‘fossil’ fuel in 2 days (blog, gab, tweet).

TDj
TDj
Nov 4, 2022 9:05 AM
Reply to  Paul Prichard

https://usawatchdog.com/cv19-vax-destroys-hearts-brains-of-billions-of-people-dr-sucharit-bhakdi/

It might interest you that the extremely loose Canon Terminology of ‘Fossil Fuels’ was invented and promoted in 1892, in Geneva: after hearing the expression, the oil business lept in, to amplify this expression, for Self-interest. Rather like B.P. lept into action to improve their image after the ‘Deepwater Horizon’ disaster, by employing a ‘classy’ PR Marketing Coup from Ogilvy & Mather,
To sell the World ‘your’ own personal “CARBON FOOTPRINT”, without to mention any single nation’s Military Carbon Footprint … or other Factors, like Geo-engineering Weather.

Jargon: ‘ It’s just a ride ‘. 😉

wardropper
wardropper
Nov 3, 2022 10:34 PM

Well, if this is going to be stopped, now is definitely the time, India.
After 30 years, nobody will have enough remaining mental faculties to be able to care.

Annie
Annie
Nov 3, 2022 9:46 PM

Thousands and hundreds of years ago artists were making sculptures out of marble.Making buildings out of rock.Now we have people on Tv making cow lungs into a meal?!?yummy.Put that meal in a museum.

Derek
Derek
Nov 4, 2022 10:59 PM
Reply to  Annie

People have been eating cow lungs for thousands and hundreds of years – its called Offal.

Derek
Derek
Nov 4, 2022 11:00 PM
Reply to  Derek

All organ meats are offal and humans still consume it.

Derek
Derek
Nov 4, 2022 11:02 PM
Reply to  Derek

OffalGuardian.

Why do you reply to yourself Annie?

Annie
Annie
Nov 3, 2022 8:34 PM

The rich might have big houses it’s still a house, They might have private jet’s and boats,But the best feeling in the world is when you have nothing but you treat yourself to a lovely meal when you make your childrens birthdays and Christmas and see their face’s Christmas morning.See their faces when you make something for them from the heart.You don’t need money you don’t need to gather money like a squirrel gather’s nuts for winter at least the squirrel does it to survive and not show off.Pride comes before a fall.

Annie
Annie
Nov 3, 2022 8:40 PM
Reply to  Annie

Material things mean nothing when you have the love of others then you will be truly happy and only then.

Annie
Annie
Nov 3, 2022 8:43 PM
Reply to  Annie

Also love yourself you are fantastic you are unique your one in a eternity to be actually living on this world you are supposed to be.👍

Crusader Rabbit
Crusader Rabbit
Nov 3, 2022 5:19 PM

I cannot speak to matters agricultural as I have no experience with them. However, as an exporter of research equipment to India, I can say that the Indian government’s regulations regarding tariffs or VAT and various other issues are quite counterproductive to doing business with them. I suspect there is quite a bit of corruption afoot as well. Non of Colin’s article is surprising.

Thomas Frey
Thomas Frey
Nov 3, 2022 5:58 PM

The corruption in India is long and documented in history.

Not too long ago, there was a corruption event where by a bridge, was seasonally wiped out, and rebuilt about a dozen times. When the investigation concluded, all the construction money was missing, and the bridge never existed in the first place. I believe this was in the 1980s or 1990s.

India, like Canada, New Zealand and Australia, are all commonwealth nations, and subjects to the King of England. History has proven that this group of nations are ripe with corruption since inception.