Following Monsanto’s recent decision to withdraw all pending approval requests for new genetically modified crops in the European Union, there are growing calls for the company to do the same in India.
Thousands of farmers and activists from across 20 states in India gathered in New Delhi, the nation’s capital, yelling “Monsanto, Quit India” and “Reject Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill.”
Anti-GMO activists in India are opposed to the propose Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill because they believe it contains several flaws, including the fact that only three to four experts will decide about GM crops and would potentially facilitate a quick entry of GMOs into India
The Coalition for GM-Free India presented Minister of State, V. Narayanasamy a national flag made up of non-GM cotton for Dr. Singh to unfurl at the Red Fort on India’s Independence Day (August 15).
“Cotton and the cloth made from indigenous cotton are a symbol of our freedom struggle,” Kavita Kuruganti of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture told the Indian newspaper, The Hindu. “Today, 93 per cent of the country’s cotton seed is controlled by Monsanto. It is now in the hands of the Prime Minister to protect our seed sovereignty as well as our food, farms and freedom.”
Every 30 minutes, an Indian farmer commits suicide as a result of Monsanto’s GM crops. In the last decade more than 250,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves because of Monsanto’s costly seeds and pesticides. Indian farmers are forced to buy GM seeds and pesticide and when the crops fail over and over again (or don’t grow back the next year), the farmers are forced to spend more money on new seeds and pesticide.
A study from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that genetically engineered crops have never been proven to produce larger harvests. Crop yield increases in recent years have almost entirely been due to improved farming or traditional plant breeding, despite thousands of field trials of GM crop.
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