Vandana Shiva: Farmer genocide due to deliberate policy imposed by WTO & implemented by Government Print E-mail
 Tuesday May 9, 2006

Farmers' suicides nothing but genocide, says Vandana Shiva

Special Correspondent

"Artificial scarcity is being created to justify wheat imports meant to kill the domestic market"

Read MORE via: Impact of WTO on Women in Agriculture
And scroll down to read the Navdanya Press Release

The policy is to transform Indian agriculture into large-scale corporate industrial farming Farmers to be trained in low cost ecological organic farming Farm organisations planning countrywide movement

NEW DELHI: Farm organisations and groups are organising a movement across the country against farmers suicides and the recent decision of the Centre to import 35 lakh tonnes of wheat during the rabi harvest season.

The Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, Vandana Shiva said the suicide by more than 40,000 farmers since 1997 to date was nothing but "genocide."

"This genocide is a result of deliberate policy imposed by the World Trade Organisation and implemented by the Government. It is designed to destroy small farmers and transform Indian agriculture into large-scale corporate industrial farming."

Releasing the fourth edition of `Navdanya' report on Farmers Suicides and Seed Monopolies, she said the suicides were a result of debts which were a consequence of the rising cost of production and falling prices, both linked to free trade and trade liberalisation policies in agriculture. In this context she said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had recently cautioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to rush headlong into Free Trade Agreements.

The report shows the trends of growing dependence of farmers in the suicide belt on hybrid and genetically modified seeds, which were costly and could not be saved. It also refers to the growing attempts to privatise seed supply and emergence of multi-national seed monopolies.

`Bija Yatra'
To press their demand for a moratorium on Bt cotton planting and for a full and independent study of the socio-economic impact and the effect on health and environment of Bt cotton with citizens' participation, the Foundation and several farmers groups will organise a "Bija Yatra" through the three cotton growing States of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh where farmers suicides had occurred in large numbers.

The Yatra would be launched from Sewagram in Maharashtra on May 10 to mark the 150 years of India's struggle for independence by building a movement to stop the genocide of farmers and reclaim India's food sovereignty. The Yatra will create awareness amongst farmers on GM crops, corporate farming and seed monopolies. Farmers would also be trained in low cost ecological organic farming. It would also distribute indigenous seeds as "seeds of hope."

On March 10, the farmers organisations would go on an indefinite dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to oppose wheat imports. Dr. Shiva alleged that an artificial scarcity was being created to justify wheat imports that were meant to "kill the domestic market, the mandi system and the Public Distribution System."

She alleged that at the same time the government was changing the norms of food safety by lowering standards of safety for imported wheat.

Farmers groups such as the Bharat Krishak Samaj, Vidharba Organic Farmers Association, Maharashtra Organic Farmers Association, Andhra Pradesh Ryatu Sangham, Modern Architect for Rural India, All-India Kisan Sabha, Bharat Krishak Samaj, Shetkari Sangathana and Kisan Sabha would participate in the "Yatra" and demonstration.
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Navdanya: A Program of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology
New Delhi  May 8 2006 Press Release

MOVEMENT TO STOP THE GENOCIDE OF FARMERS

Dr. Vandana Shiva, Director, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology has called the suicides of more than 40,000 farmers a genocide. This genocide is a result of deliberate policy imposed by the WTO and the World Bank, implemented by the Government, which is designed to destroy small farmers and transform Indian agriculture into large scale corporate industrial farming. The suicides are a result of debt and debt is a result of a rising cost of production and falling prices, both linked to free trade and trade liberalization policies in agriculture. Sonia Gandhi, the Congress President has cautioned the Prime Minister to not rush head long into Free Trade Agreements in the context of farmers suicides.

Dr. Shiva released the fourth edition of the Navdanya report on the farmers suicides and seed monopolies. The first edition was issued in 1998, when farmers suicides started in the cotton belt of Warrangal in Andhra Pradesh. The report shows the trends of growing dependence of farmers in the suicide belt on hybrid and GMO seeds which are costly and cannot be saved, the privatization of seed supply and emergence of seed monopolies with Monsanto as the largest player. Monsanto’s Bt. Cotton is intimately connected to rising cost of production, increased crop failure and increasing incidences of farmers’ suicides. Reports of health hazards from Bt. Cotton are also growing.

Navdanya demands that a moratorium be put on cotton planting and a full and independent study of the socio-economic impact and impact on health and environment of Bt. Cotton is undertaken with citizen participation. Navdanya also reiterates its call to not allow the passage of any law such as the proposed Seed Act which will destroy farmers varieties and farmers rights and make farmers totally dependent on unreliable GM seeds from corporations like Monsanto.

Dr. Vandana Shiva and Dr. Krishan Bir Chowdhary, Executive Director of Bharat Krishak Samaj also briefed the press on the Bija Yatra / Asha Yatra being undertaken through the suicide belts of Maharasthra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The Bija Yatra 2006-2007 is being launched on 10th of May to mark 150 years of our struggle for freedom by building a movement to stop the genocide of our farmers and reclaim our food sovereingy. The participating organizations are Vidharba Organic Farmers Association, Maharasthra Organic Farmers Association, Andhra Pradesh Rytu Sangham, Modern Architect for Rural India, Telengana Rayatanga Samiti, All India Kisan Sabha, Karnataka Rytu Rajya Sangh, Bharat Jan Andolan, Kisani Pratishta Manch, Bharat Krishak Samaj, Shetkari Sangatana (Vidharbha), Kisan Sabha and other activist organisations. The Yatra will create awareness among farmers on GMO’s, corporate farming and seed monopolies. Yatris will encourage farmers to boycott Bt. Cotton, give up seeds of suicides and seeds of slavery, and adopt seeds of life and seeds of freedom and hope. Farmers participating in the Yatra will also give training on low cost ecological organic farming and distribute seeds of life and seeds of hope, which can be saved and do not need to be bought at high cost each year from corporations along with costly chemicals. Seed saving and seed sharing among farmers, and the adoption of ecological, organic farming will stop the vicious cycle of debt and create the virtuous cycle of prosperity. The Yatra will also promote GMO Free, Patent Free, Debt Free, Suicide Free Zones.

We would like to invite media to join and cover the Yatra.

For Further Information Please Contact

Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology
A-60, Hauz Khas
New Delhi – 110 016.
Ph : 91-11-26968077 / 26561868 / 26535422
Fax : 91-11-26856795 / 26962589
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website : www.navdanya.org