CSA India Press Release: Andhra Pradesh village declares itself GM-Free Print E-mail



October 11, 2006, Eenabavi (Warangal district): While an international rice conference in Delhi is discussing the inevitability of genetically modified rice in ensuring national food security in India, Village Eenabavi in Warangal district declared itself GM-Free on October 11, 2006.  Supported by organizations like CROPS, Centre for World Solidarity and Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, this small village in the heartland of farmer suicides in Andhra Pradesh is into its third year of chemical-free agriculture and is proving to the world that food security can indeed be secured without any chemical or GM solutions. On 11th October, all the farmers in the village took an oath to remain GM-Free and organic.

Eenabavi is probably the first modern-day farming village that has gone completely organic, without the use of any chemical fertilizers or pesticides and without any GM seeds, to secure prosperity for each farming family in the village. This village which had gone down the intensive agriculture path, realized the folly of such agriculture around five years ago and decided to try out alternatives. Beginning with NPM (Non Pesticidal Management of crops), the farmers then decided to give up chemical fertilizers too.

"There was one farmer in the village who bought and sowed Bt Cotton with very bad results. All around us, we find other farmers suffering with losses from Bt Cotton. It was in that context, that we decided that we do not need any GM crops in our village and we have all taken an oath not to purchase or sow any GM seeds and not to consume any GM foods. We have healthy organic foods from our own lands that taste a lot better than conventionally grown crops. Our own health has improved after we shifted to organic farming", explained Mr Ittaboina Venkatadri, a leading farmer in the village.

Anjamma, another farmer, added that there have been no decreases in productivity of crops like paddy in the village, even after the shift to organic farming. She pointed out that the cost of cultivation has come down to negligible levels, enhancing the net incomes of farmers.

The farmers here grow a variety of crops without the use of chemicals including paddy, chilli, vegetables, cotton, tobacco, maize etc. The village is also experimenting with the System of Rice Intensification [SRI] and the results have been positive so far.

Unlike most other villages caught in agrarian distress across the country, the villagers here want their children to continue with ecological farming and firmly believe that farming is the most viable livelihood possible for them. The farmers here are also willing to spread knowledge and skills about ecological agriculture and a Farmer Resource Centre run by the farmers of Eenabavi was inaugurated on this occasion by Shri Vijay Kumar, IAS, Chief Executive Officer of Indira Kranthi Patham in Andhra Pradesh. The meeting on October 11th was attended by around 700 farmers from neighboring villages.

For more information, contact:
Kavitha Kuruganti, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture at:
(040) 9393001550
Kavitha Kuruganti
Centre for Sustainable Agriculture
12-13-445, Street # 1, Tarnaka
Secunderabad 500 017

Phone: +91-40-9393001550