‘No food shall be grown that we don’t own’

Patna, August 7, 2011: The primary objective of multinational seed companies that ‘no food shall be grown that we don’t own’ came under a sharp attack by the members of civil societies here today, who gave a call for ‘Monsanto Quit India’ on August 9 and also announced holding Kisan Swaraj Week till the Independence Day.

“Monsanto is now facing an anti-trust investigation even in theUnited States. But here inIndia, the Centre is bent upon promoting its seeds. And since Agriculture is the State Subject, now the attempt is to bypass States even,” said Pankaj Bhushan, the national co-convenor of the national ASHA coalition and convenor of GM Free Bihar Movement, adding, “this cannot be tolerated, now.”

Bhushan told a press conference that Monsanto is an American company, which has become the world’s largest seed company by employing many devious strategies and tactics. “We will not allow corporatization of our agriculture. That is why we have called for a nation-wide DAY OF ACTION on August 9, 2011 (Quit India Day) and KISAN SWARAJ WEEK, from August 9 – 15 2011.”

He accused Monsanto of adopting notorious means in India for a variety of misdeeds and crimes – polluting natural resources, killing and maiming humans with its products, bribing officials for approvals, falsifying safety reports to show the most dangerous chemicals like dioxin as safe, colluding with regulators through revolving doors between the company and government as also false advertising.

“What Indian farmers should know is that Monsanto is also a company which has sued and jailed farmers for the “crime” of saving and using seeds that have been purchased by the farmers from the company, to protect its patents,” he said, wondering: “Can you imagine farmers not being allowed the right to save seed from their own crop, when it is farmers who have bred thousands of crop varieties over the centuries?”

Addressing the press conference, renowned socialist senior member of theAlliancefor Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) Vijay Pratap said that Monsanto first exploited the other South Asian countries and is now penetrating deeper intoIndia. “This will completely destroy our agriculture and more farmers will be forced to commit suicides,” he said. “I am concerned that not only our fields will be destroyed by promoting such multinational seed companies but common men will get nothing but poison in the platters while such infiltrators will be raking in the moolah.”

“This is a national problem. Therefore we will hand over a memorandum to our state government on 9th August, cautioning it against the such multinational companies and prevent their entry intoBihar,” he said.  Kisan Morcha President Vidya Bhushan expressed concern over some politicians giving preference to genetically modified and hybrid seeds. “What will happen to our traditional agriculture which is so resourceful and self-sufficient?” he said, promising that the movement against the multinational seed companies will take decisive turn this time.

Farmer leader Girish Sharma said the Centre Government was conspiring to end State Government’s role in deciding the agriculture policies which was illegal. “Over 400 organisations have come together this time across the nation to make it an action day on 9th August,” he said, adding a fast and dharna will be observed on this day at Kargil Chowk in Patna from where a march will start at 3 pm to hand over the memorandum to the government.

State president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union Ramanuj Singh said the companies like Monsanto will have their toughest time now since his organisation has decided to oppose it tooth and nail in the interest of the farmers and agriculture. “We have already warned the government. Now it is time for actions,” he said.

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