Women activists urge PM to ban on illegal GMO imports

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New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) Environmental activist and scholar Dr Vandana Shiva on Tuesday urged the Prime Minister to ban “illegal GMO import” and stop unnecessary imports to support Indian farmers and strengthen the country’s sovereignty.

In a joint letter to PM Narendra Modi, Shiva of Navdanya and founder of Guild for Service Dr Mohini Giri pointed out how our country is “unnecessarily importing roundup-sprayed pulses and processed food with Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)” technique.

“While our farmers grow a diversity of safe, healthy, GMO-free food, we are unnecessarily importing roundup-sprayed pulses and processed food with GMOs. We can feed two times India’s population with bio-diverse nutrition-sensitive organic agriculture,” the letter said.

It further said that illegal imports of GMOs and roundup-ready food grains are destroying the livelihood of our farmers and women in the indigenous food economy and health of the people.

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“Our government seems to be in a rush to put the profits of MNCs above the food sovereignty of India, the livelihood of Indian farmers and women, and the right to safe and healthy food of the Indian people,” it said.

Shiva and Giri then called upon Modi to stop the entry of GMO foods and roundup-laced pulses and edible oils, and “build on indigenous alternatives which can provide fair incomes to our farmers and a healthy diet to the last child”.

In another letter to Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan, Shiva implored the Minister to investigate Bt Cotton (genetically modified crop) for criminal fraud, accusing Monsanto — an agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation — of deceiving Indian farmers by making unscientific and fraudulent claims.

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“Over the two decades since Monsanto entered India, it has violated laws, deceived Indian farmers by making unscientific and fraudulent claims, extracted super profits through illegal royalty collection by violating India’s Patent and Intellectual Property laws, pushed farmers into debt, and, as a consequence of the debt trap, to suicide,” Shiva said.

“Monsanto cheated Indian farmers by claiming that its Bt cotton will control the bollworm. The claim of Bt cotton being a pest control technology has been proven false with the emergence of resistant pests and farmers are being forced to use pesticides. Farmers are now dying due to pesticide poisoning,” she added.

–IANS

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