India Farmer Groups Slam GM Crop Trials and Farmer Suicides

Posted on Mar 7 2014 - 3:39am by Sustainable Pulse

More than 100 farmer organizations from India representing lakhs of farmers, including some of the larger and more prominent unions, have come together to put forward their Charter of Demands to all political parties on the eve of Lok Sabha elections .

GMO India

Source of Charter: www.kisanswaraj.in/category/news/

They censured all parties for the neglect that farm livelihoods have been subjected to, and the industry-friendly anti-farmer policies being pursued resulting in massive displacement of farmers in the country. Pointing to the obvious that most voting is from rural India, they warned Parties that they will analyse poll promises of parties for their vision related to farming and farm livelihoods and advise their members to vote accordingly.

These farmer unions demanded that there should be a minimum living income guaranteed to all farm households. Key demands also include that land, forests and seed remain in the control of rural communities and not be allowed to be grabbed and monopolized by corporations for their profiteering, and that ecological sustainability in farming should be a top priority. Farm unions and civil society groups are also demanding that open-air releases of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the garb of field trials be stopped.

“It is a shame for the entire nation that on an average, one farmer in this country is committing suicide every half an hour; every day, around 2300 farmers are quitting agriculture. Despite so many years of so-called agricultural development and Green Revolution, the average monthly income of an overwhelming majority of Indian farmers is far less than what their average monthly expenditure is, making it difficult for most farm households to make their ends meet. The largest displacement in human history is happening from Indian agriculture and all of this is out of distress conditions created by adverse public policies that are pitted against farmers’ interests. It is high time that we stopped measuring agricultural development only in the form of production and productivity; it is time that we focused on farmers’ well-being and the net returns or income accruing to them. It is in this context, that we demand that a minimum living income be guaranteed to all farm households of this country. To address this, Farm Income Commissions have to be set up at the national and state level straightaway, tasked with assessment of incomes and focused recommendations to ensure that such incomes are realized”, said Yudhvir Singh of Bhartiya Kisan Union, and Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Unions (ICCFM).

Kavitha Kuruganti of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) said, “it is an utter lack of wisdom and sense that drives policy makers to adopt and push for agricultural technologies that erode the very productive resources that will make agriculture survive – land, seed, water, forests etc. If we degrade or deplete our productive base, how can agriculture continue? Official data is showing that around 25% of our land is degraded thanks to the chemical and water intensive technologies that we have adopted; it is being predicted that in another 20 years, 60% of our groundwater resources will reach a critical state. In places like Punjab, most of the area is already under Dark and Grey zones. Our seed diversity has been badly eroded. Toxic technologies like pesticides are contaminating everything including our food. It is obvious that our food and farming systems cannot be sustained in this intensive agriculture approach. It is in this context that we demand that agriculture be shifted towards ecological farming on a massive scale, in a timebound manner. A variety of measures have to be adopted to take this up, and we want political parties to promise that ecological farming will get a huge thrust”.

Talking about the need for ensuring that resources like land and seed are not grabbed and alienated from farmers, Saroj Mohanty of Paschim Odisha Krushak Sanghatan Samanvay Samithi explained that without control over such resources in the hands of farmers, livelihood and food security cannot be ensured. “Today, various natural resources like land, forests and seed, which are prerequisites for food and livelihood security are being viewed as business commodities, on which corporations can make huge profits. Various governments are actually abetting grabbing of resources away from agriculture through policy and regulatory frameworks that are anti-farmer. Large tracts of land are being acquired in the name of ‘development’ which has nothing in it for the local communities. We demand that this be stopped – there should be no forcible acquisition, and no acquisition of agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose. We also demand that forest management approaches have biodiversity and livelihood security as prime objectives and that ownership should rest with local communities”.

Stressing the importance of seed, Pankaj Bhushan of Coalition for a GM-Free India cautioned against exclusive monopolies already building up in various crops. This is getting accentuated with GM seeds everywhere in the world. For instance, within all the GM crop land around the world, 95% of the seed comes from just one organization – Monsanto. He pointed out that when even industry-sponsored reports are pointing to more countries opting out of GM crop cultivation, it is utterly shocking that our Environment Minister gave a go-ahead to field trials of hundreds of GM crop field trials. “The Minister is unable to give any rational and scientific reason as to why he overturned his predecessor’s decision and what new basis does he have, that she did not, for allowing these trials that too on the eve of the elections, and before a crucial Supreme Court hearing?”. Pankaj Bhushan demanded that the approvals be withdrawn immediately by the government; he also urged state governments to be alert, heed to scientific and democratic voices and deny permission for trials in their states.

 

CHARTER OF DEMANDS ENDORSED BY FOLLOWING FARMERS UNIONS:

Aadivasi Mukti Sangathan, Sendhava, Madhya Pradesh (Gajanan Brahmane)

Adima Krushi Ekata Mancha, Sambalpur (Lochan Paule)

Adivasigal Gothra Mahasaba, Kerala (CK Janu)

Akhil Bhartiya Rashtrvaadi Kisan Sangathan, Bhojpur (Indu Bhushan)

Akhila Bharat Krushak Mahasangha, Puri (Kishan Pattanaik)

Alibha Krushak Sanghatan, Sundargarh, Odisha (Chudamani Bariha)

Anchalika Krushak Sanghatan, Sambalpur, Odisha (AK Nath)

Balangir Krushak Suraksha Sangh, Odisha (Arun Kumar Mishra)

Bargi Bandh Visthapit Sangh, Madhya Pradesh (Rajkumar)

Beej Swaraj Abhiyan, Madhya Pradesh (Harish Panwar)

Bhartiya Kisan Sangh, Gujarat (Magan bhai Patel)

Bharatiya Kisan Union, many states (Rakesh Tikait)

Bhartiya Kisan Union, Madhya Pradesh (Eashwar Chandra Tripathy)

Bhu Adhikar Abhiyan, Madhya Pradesh (Anil Karne)

Bihari Thakur Gramin Kisan Club, Minapur, Bihar (Manoj Kumar)

Binda Kisan Foundation, Muzaffarpur, Bihar (Anand Kumar)

Birmaharajpur Krushak Mukti Sanghatan, Sonepur (Dilipkumar Swain)

Bishamkatak Krushak Sanghatan, Odisha (Krushna Kanhar)

Boudh Krushak Sangharsha Samiti, Odisha (Kedar Sahu)

Chassi Mulia Mukti Sanghatan, Deogarh (Jagabandhu Behera)

Deshi Chasa O Chasi Suraksha Parishad, Odisha (Dasharathi Behera)

Dharanipenu Krushak Sangathan, Kandhamal, Odisha (Rameshchandra Nayak)

Dhruadihi Krushak Sangathan, Sundargarh, Odisha (Surath Kishan)

Diyara Bachao-Bharat Bachao, Maner, Bihar (Chaudhary Brahm Prakash)

Ekta Parishad, Bhopal (P.V.Rajgopal)

G.M.Free Bihar Movement, Patna, Bihar (Bablu Kumar)

Gandhi Uzhavar Iyakkam, Sennakunam, Tamil Nadu

Gramin Kisan Berojgaar Seva Sansthan, Vaishali, Bihar (Shanti Sharma)

Gujarat Khedut Samaj (Bhadri bhai)

Harit Swaraj Abhiyaan, Gopalganj, Bihar (Vidya Bhushan Singh)

Iykkiya (United) Farmers Association, Tamil Nadu (Vaiyapuri, Thalaivasal)

Jagannath Krushak Sangh, Balangir, Odisha (Bhakta Dishrie)

Jagrit Aadivasi Dalit Sangathan, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh (Nasri bai and Leela Bai)

Jaiv Hitkaari Kisan Club, Mushahari Radhanagar, Bihar (Ramishwar Sah)

Jal Upbhokta Parishad, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh (Yogendra Singh Chouhan)

Jalalpur Seva Ashram, Saran, Bihar (Vijay Kumar)

JDU Kisan Prakoshth, Muzaffarpur (Mukteshwar Singh)

Katchi Sarpartra Thamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam, Tamil Nadu (N.S.Palanisamy)

Karnataka State Red Gram Growers’ Association, Gulbarga (Basavaraj Ingin)

Kendrapada Krushak Surakhya Sangathan (Nrusingha Behera)

Kerala State Coconut Farmers Association (Ravi)

Khaprakhol Krushak Shramika Sanghatan, Bolangir (Gupteshwar Kunwar)

Khedut Mazdur Chetana Sangathan, Alirajpur, Madhya Pradesh (Shankar Singh)

Kisan Aadivasi Visthapit Ekta Manch, Singroli, Madhya Pradesh (Laxmichand Dubey)

Kisan Adhikar Manch, Madhya Pradesh (Anant Johari)

Kisan Adivasi Mahapanchayat, Madhya Pradesh (Arun Tyagi)

Kisan Club & Bharat Swabhimaan Andolan Lucknow, UP (Har Govind Upadhyay, Gaurav Ohm)

Kisan Kendra & Bharat swabhimaan Andolan, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh (Gurudev)

Kisan Kendra, Murshidabad, West Bengal (Tanavi Singh)

Kisan Mazdoor Vikas Sangathan, Jehanabad, Bihar (Anil Kumar)

Kisan Morcha, Bikaner, Rajasthan (Narendra Arya)

Kisan Sangharsh Samiti Bihar (Rahish Kumar)

Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh (Rajendra Purohit)

Kisan Sansthan, Vaishali, Bihar (Draupdi Sharma)

Kisan Seva Evam Bharat Swabhiman Andolan, Indore, Madhya Pradesh (Ashok Joshi & Sharad Joshi)

Kisan Sewa Samithi Mahasangh, Rajasthan

Krantikari Kisan Parishad, Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh (Leeladhar Singh Rajput)

Krushak Bikash Manch, Odisha (Panchanana Dalpati)

Krushak Sangathan, Malkangiri, Odisha (Krishna Dora)

Krushak Sangathan, Sonepur, Odisha (Bipracharan Sahu)

Krushak Sangharsh Samithi, Dhenkanal, Odisha (Debasis Hota)

Krushak Sanghatan Rajamunda, Sundargarh (Bhajamana Mahanta)

Krushak Sanghatan, Deogarh, Odisha (Prasanna Patel)

Krushak Sanghatan, Koraput, Odisha (Ranjit Kumar Pangi)

Krushak Shakti Sanghatan, Nuapada, Odisha (Sanjay Tiwari)

Laghu Seemant Krishak Morcha (Vijay Kumar Pande)

Lok Jagrati Manch, Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh (Laxman Singh)

Lok Mukti Sanghatan, Jharsuguda, Odisha (Ananta Panda)

Maa Samleshwari Krushak Samanvay Samithi, Sambalpur, Odisha (Saroj Kumar Pujhari)

Manav Seva Bharti, Vaishali, Bihar (Rupesh Kumar Singh)

Naktideol Mahila Krushak Mahasangha, Sambalpur (Gitanjali Pradhan)

Narmada Bachao Andolan, Madhya Pradesh (Mansa Ram)

Naya Savera Vikas Kendra, Ekta Parishad Dhanbad, Jharkhand (Lalit Kumar)

Nilachala Krushak Mahasangha, Puri (Gopinath Mishra)

Odisha Rajya Krushak Sanghathan (Samata) (Ramesh Kumar Pati)

Paschim Odisha Krushak Sanghatan Samanvay Samithi, Odisha (Ashok Pradhan)

Pasunthalir, Kadayam, Ambasamuthram, Tamil Nadu (Vijaya Rani)

Pragatisheel Kisan Club, Minapur, Bihar (Lalbabu Rai)

Pragatisheel Kisan Sangathan, Naubatpur, Bihar (Shyam Kishore Sharma)

Raithu Swarajya Vedika, Andhra Pradesh (Asha Latha)

Raj Boda Samar Krushak Sanghatan, Bargarh, Odisha (Minaketan Sahu)

Rashtriya Kisan-Mazdoor Swaraj Gathbandhan, Patna, Bihar (K.Sharma)

Rashtriya Swabhimaan Andolan, Bokaro (Sushil Kumar Mandal)

Right to Food Campaign, Madhya Pradesh (Rolly Shivhare)

Rushikulya Raitha Mahasabha, Ganjam, Odisha (Simanchala Naik)

Sahjanand Kisan Club, Tengrahi, Bihar (Harishchandra)

Sambalpur Zilla Krushak Surkhya Sangathan, Odisha (Murari Purohit)

Samta Phule Kisan Club, Kerma, Bihar (Santosh Kumar)

Samuhika Marusi Pratikar Udyama, Bargarh, Odisha (Jaykrushna Sahu)

Sangam Kisan Club, Muzaffarpur (Ritu Raj)

Santha Bhima Bhoi Krushak Sangharsha Samiti, Sambalpur (Ananda Kumar Samal)

Sarv Daliya Kisan Manch, Anupur, Madhya Pradesh (Anant Johri)

Sauhard Kisan Sangathan, Madhubani, Bihar (Vinod Mishra)

Shetkari Sanghatan, Maharastra (Vijay Jawandhia)

Shetkari Shet Mazdoor Sanghatan affiliated to Hind Mazdoor Sabha (Aneel Hegde)

South Indian Coordination Committee for Farmers’ Movements (Kannaiyan)

Swami Sahjanand Saraswati Kisan Samaj Kalyan Sansthan, Muzaffarpur, Bihar (Mohan Mishra)

Tamil Nadu Organic Farmers’ Federation (Selvam Ramaswamy)

Thalanmai Uzhavar Iyakkam, Thirumangalam, Tamil Nadu (Balu)

Thamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam, Tamil Nadu (Sellamuthu)

Thamizh Thesa Pothuvudamai Katchi, Tamil Nadu (K Venkatraman)

Thamizhaga Uzhavar Katchi, Tamil Nadu (M K Devarajan))

Tharchaarbu Iyakkam, Sirkali, Tamil Nadu (Balaji Shankar)

Tirhut Kisan Samagra Vikas Parishad, Samastipur, Bihar (Baban Mishra)

Vanvaasi Kalyan Kendra, Dhanbad, Jharkhand (Shankar Prasad Dey)

Vivasaya Seva Nilayam, Puliyangudi, Tamil Nadu (Gomathinayakam)

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  1. Angela March 7, 2014 at 17:01 - Reply

    WAY TO GO INDIA!!!!!!!!

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