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When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Monday, August 08, 2011

Monsanto Quit India!!

hey, do join the "Monsanto, Quit India" events being held all over India, to mark the Quit India Day on August 9th 2011. In scores of locations across 15 states of India, the demand is to the governments, to scrap various agreements that they have with Monsanto, Mahyco, Bayer, Dow, Syngenta, DuPont and the likes given that the governments are actually facilitating the build-up of monopolistic markets for these corporations (in the name of public private partnerships) by using taxpayers' funds, to the detriment of the livelihoods of our farmers. The demand is also to blacklist Monsanto given the recent objectionable biosafety violations found in its GM maize plot in Bijapur, Karnataka. This is also to demand that state governments do not allow any GM crop trials and do not facilitate bio-piracy of invaluable germplasm that belongs to farmers of this country in the name of collaborative research etc. The Day is also being marked to showcase community-level, self-reliant solutions that Indian farmers have pioneered, including farmers' seed breeding and conservation skills and knowledge.

VISIT: here for a list of events around the country. This link also leads you to a poster that can be downloaded, a song for the occasion and a leaflet.

For those of you who cannot join the events directly, the request is that you at least display the poster in your work place, distribute print-outs of the leaflet, in addition to wearing white on that day in solidarity with a black ribbon and a green ribbon tied on the arm.

Date: 9th August 2011

“No food shall be grown, that we do not own” – that is the reported objective of Monsanto, the multi-national seed and agro-chemical company notorious for suing and jailing farmers for the “crime” of reusing seeds they purchased from the company! If you are shocked by Monsanto’s aim of controlling the entire world’s food production system, what is more mind-boggling is how much progress it has already made towards its goal. Monsanto is today the world’s largest seed company, controlling 23% of the proprietary seed market. The annual turnover of this single company is Rs. 22,500 crores, more than the GDP of 48 countries and nearly equal to five years' of financial outlay in India for National Agricultural Development Programme! Notorious for its unscrupulous practices, it is now re-writing the laws and manipulating politicians and officials in the developing world to push its GM (genetic modification) technology, herbicides and proprietary hybrids. Recently, gross violations were exposed in its field trials of GM maize in Karnataka showing the impunity with which the company defies biosafety concerns.

The question of who controls our agriculture – our crores of farmers or a few big corporations – has deep ramifications for the whole society. We all have a big stake in whether unsafe genetically modified foods will be thrust on us, whether unsafe agri-chemicals would further damage our water, soil and health, whether 10 crore farmer families will lose their livelihoods, whether our rural and urban areas will be sustainable and whether we would have safe, diverse and nutritious food to eat.

If we as a nation want to protect our food sovereignty, if we want to retain control on what we grow and what we eat, this is the time for us to act decisively. This is a call to all like-minded organizations, alliances and individuals to come together and join the various events around the country.

This Day of Action aims to strengthen the broader struggle against corporate domination of agriculture by focusing on its most potent symbol. Let us send a strong signal from all over India that citizens will not tolerate corporate domination of our food and farming systems.

This call is being put out by Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA). Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) is an all-India network of about 400 organizations of farmers, agricultural workers, consumers, social activists and academics, working to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture and secure livelihoods for farmers, and stop corporate domination of our agriculture and food system. ASHA organized the nation-wide Kisan Swaraj Yatra from Sabarmati to Raj Ghat in Oct-Dec 2010 for “Food, Farmers, Freedom”.
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