Ethan A. Huff
Nov 2, 2010
Many Indian farmers and concerned citizens are taking the offensive against the attempted takeover of their agriculture system by multinational biotechnology giants like Monsanto. A group known as Kisan Swaraj Yatra (KSY) has been mobilizing and gathering support from farmers, and touring the country in protest of genetically-modified (GM) crops that are destroying the nation’s agriculture.
Recently, more than 50 farmers from KSY stormed Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) to demand that it stop being “the agent of multinational corporation Monsanto ” with its trial of Bt cotton, brinjal and corn. According to the group, these crops  significantly disrupt the domestic seed market and cause a massive reduction in income levels for farmers . And the group is making several other stops across the nation to raise awareness and create further alliances.
“The overwhelming message from farmers and non-farmers, rural and urban areas, is that such a large mobilization to save Indian agriculture  is the crying need today,” explained KSY. “The Yatra is raising issues like support systems for farmers, remunerative prices, control over seeds , land and other resources, forced displacement and the vicious cycle of high-cost chemical agriculture.”
One of the major problems with GM crop cultivation is that it puts farmers at the mercy of corporations like Monsanto. Instead of being self-sufficient and able to save domestic and heirloom seeds every year for subsequent plantings, farmers have to purchase GM seeds from the manufacturer every year. And GM crops also require heavy pesticide and herbicide applications that destroy the environment, among other things, even though their producers often claim otherwise.
KSY has put together an online petition (http://www.kisanswaraj.in/petition2/ ) to demand that the Indian government put its people first and stand up against the GM takeover of Indian agriculture. Be sure to check out the petition and lend your support.
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